Saturday will see a very important event in India’s history – the nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. Even though India has considerable experience in undertaking such campaigns, the very scale of the drive is unprecedented. The dry runs should have prepared those tasked with the job, but there will no doubt be problems considering all the multiple challenges. People should be mentally prepared to keep these in perspective as there is no shortage of those who would exaggerate and exploit incidents for political purposes, regardless of how much damage they cause to this important national objective.
Since the drive is being undertaken in a phased manner, with ‘Corona Warriors’ being given first priority, it will be possible to further identify and weed out the shortcomings in the processes. A problem being faced everywhere, including in Uttarakhand, is the casual attitude and reluctance among the chosen beneficiaries to get themselves vaccinated. The reason for this is, first, the statements that have been made by ill-informed politicians who have cast doubts upon the efficacy and safety of the two vaccines selected for use by the Indian Government. Also, the steep decline in the number of cases and fatalities nationwide has induced considerable complacency. There is need to learn from the experience of the European nations where the virus has hit back with even greater ferocity when it was thought things were under control. People are dying in large numbers, particularly the vulnerable sections.
People in India have almost returned to ‘normal’ behaviour in their everyday lives, as though the problem has been overcome. If it were not for the restrictions imposed by the government, it would not even seem like there is a crisis at hand. Even after the vaccination drive takes place, it will be just as necessary to continue with the precautions for some time to come. India’s scientists and its government have brought the nation to a point where a final assault can be made on the pandemic. It should not be undercut by a lack of discipline and sense of responsibility among the common people.