SRINAGAR: A top Kashmiri doctor in the United Kingdom has said vaccine against COVID 19 will be ready by October this year but its mass production will not happen before the spring of 2021.
Dr. Syed Imtiyaz Geelani, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at William Harvey Hospital in the United Kingdom said if everything goes as planned, the vaccine will be ready by October this year.
“The earliest I can see its mass production will be spring next year. Oxford Group is doing fantastic work. Probably, if everything goes as planned, the vaccine will be ready by October. But developing a vaccine is one thing and creating millions of doses is another. The earliest I can see the mass production of vaccine is spring 2021,” Dr. Geelani told The Kashmir Monitor in an exclusive interview.
Dr. Geelani said some things are going to change forever in the post-COVID 19 era. “Like it or not, it is not going to be one-off. Pandemics and stuff like this will happen again. It will be very unwise not to plan next. I hope it never happens again,” he said.
Hailing Kashmiri doctors for their fight against COVID 19, he said his colleagues in the valley are doing an amazing job despite difficulties. “I commend and congratulate them for really making good efforts. My full credit to the folks in Kashmir. They are amazing,” he said.
Dr Geelani noted that the lockdown and quarantine seem to have worked in Kashmir. “During a zoom call between professionals from Kashmir, the US, and the UK, I have gathered that lockdown is working. The robust lockdown seems to have an effect. The quarantine is working, the lockdown is working and people are taking it seriously,” he said.
Expressing serious fears, he said India does not have resources to meet the challenge if the cases surge. “My biggest worry is that if God forbid there is a surge in Kashmir or India, I don’t think there are resources to meet that challenge,” he said.
Dr Geelani said people have been hospitalized for very mild symptoms in Kashmir which is not a great use of a hospital. “Such cases can be easily managed at home. I can understand why there is a temptation to admit everybody. But such cases can be managed at home. I think you should have a slightly higher threshold for admitting patients,” he said.
Taking social distancing to the next level, Dr. Geelani advised parents to ensure that kids do not interact with elderly people. “Make sure your kids do not interact with elderly parents. Kids can be asymptomatic and they might have a virus. They may not show overt symptoms, but when they mingle, they will be shelling the virus. Make sure that you segregate kids from the elderly,” he said.