A couple of weeks ago, my 18-year old son got his first dose of Covishield.
When vaccination for the 18-44 year age group opened out on May 1, we already knew that vaccines were in short supply. Getting a vaccination slot would not be easy and there are many in professions that are at high risk – shopkeepers, delivery people, road vendors, labourers, cooks, maids, drivers, who should rightfully be prioritised.
“I think I should wait. Let those who really need the vaccines get their shots. I am anyway at home only.”, Gautam said. This I did think was was a noble thought.
Getting a slot was and still is indeed difficult. I had been trying for friends and acquaintances, and though I had managed to get a few appointments, it was a very time consuming exercise, requiring one to be constantly online and vigilant.
Vaccination is a serious matter. In the current Covid-19 situation, it seems to be one of the key factors that would be responsible in getting the pandemic under control, reducing severity of the disease, minimising the need for hospitalisation, and allowing us to continue to live.
Our government has made quite a mess of the vaccination plan for the country, through the vaccination policy it announced in the middle of April, amidst the gasps for breaths of oxygen and hunts for hospital beds.
Announcing early victory over the virus (sans vaccination made it a big accomplishment), delay in ordering vaccines, high-handedness with vaccine makers, vaccine mockery, handing over vaccine acquisition to the states, differential pricing, changing vaccination schedules and regimen … Every area that could be messed up, has been messed up.
Thousands of humans are dying in India because we allowed COVID to spread like wild fire, without being prepared to handle so many people falling ill at the same time.
No normal hospital beds. No ICU beds. No ventilator beds. No medicines. No injections. No ambulances.
More than anything else – no oxygen to breathe. No oxygen cylinders. No refills. No oxygen concentrators.
Doctors and nurses are tired. They not only attend to patients, but also decide whom to prioritise for treatment, given the resources in their hands.