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Get vaccinated

Jammu and Kashmir like the rest of India is in the grip of a more virulent wave of COVID-19 which has wreaked havoc shooting up the number of cases and killing thousands across the country. Over 1.3 billion people are in a state of chaos as the new wave is throwing a very daunting challenge to the entire healthcare system. People are literally gasping for Oxygen as hospitals are reporting a shortage of beds with such facilities even as many patients died craving for an oxygen cylinder. In Kashmir, so far, the situation is not out of control yet even though the number of cases has increased nearly 300% in the last two weeks. The responsibility to make sure that the situation does not get as worse as other states like Delhi and Maharashtra lies on both authorities and the people. Healthcare system needs to get ready. The number of beds with oxygen facilities needs to be considerably increased to prepare for the severe cases. Hospitals need to use whatever time it can get before the situation slips out of hand. At the same time, the common masses have a lot on their shoulders. First is social distancing. Whether you are going to the market, which you should avoid if possible, or offering prayers in the mosques, adhering to social distancing, and wearing masks should be a non-negotiable for you. At the same time, vaccines are a must. We must all shed our doubts and apprehensions regarding the vaccine and come out to receive our jabs. The only way to fight this virus now is to get more and more people vaccinated. In the 12th week of vaccinations (3-9 April), 22.6 million Indians got their first dose, the highest so far. This reduced to 18.6 million in the following week, lending credence to claims that India was falling short of doses. For remote areas in several states, the vaccine drive was put to a halt by stock outages, even as the Centre denied any shortage in vaccine supply. At present, Serum Institute of India produces 70 million to 100 million doses of Covishield per month, while Bharat Biotech makes 12 million doses of Covaxin per month. Every week, this gives new stock of only around 25 million vaccines. If foreign vaccines are cleared sooner, like the recent clearance of Sputnik V, the pool of available vaccines can increase. Reports show that to inoculate 70% of the population with the first dose by August 2021, India must double the speed. As per the divisional administration in Kashmir, 10% of the population has been vaccinated so far in the valley. The number needs to rise to at least 70% as soon as possible. The government too has finally allowed all adults to take the shot from May 1. So, we should make it a point to get vaccinated and encourage our neighbours and our kin too to go out and receive the jab. However, while doing so we must ensure social distancing and only move out wearing a mask. The situation is terrible however together we can get out of it if we all realise our individual responsibilities.