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The Vaccine Teeter-Totter…

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By Roli S

Since the time the vaccination drive to contain and tame the Covid 19 pandemic has started in the world, floodgates of information surrounding the vaccine have opened and, as is the case with any worthwhile cause , the vaccines that are made to save the human race from the perils of the deadly virus have fallen into the dangerous cauldron of the ‘social media’to be cooked and steamed up in a way that it will leave more people confused than empowered, especially in India, where there are thousands of lines of thoughts and arguments for anything that is a novelty.

Last year, around the same time when the pandemic was at its peak and disrupting the lives of ‘locked up’ people, all people around the world were saying that the vaccine would be ready soon and put an end to the hardships generated by the Corona virus. “Vaccines take years to come.” “Vaccines will not be ready any time soon, it takes a lot of research and data collection to make a vaccine.” “There are still no vaccines made for SARS!” “Herd immunity is the only cure.” There were so many angles and perspectives around the making of the possible Covid 19 vaccine, but in their hearts, the general public of the world wanted a solution and a vaccine could be that.

Time after time, humans wish to control everything, their present, and their future. But it is not possible to be in control of everything in life. It is obvious that the human race will face adversities and calamities in life and some catastrophes that may discourage them. It is in these times of darkness, that hope of a better future keeps the human race going.

It is up to us, how we feel in the darker phases of our lives. It is true that the future is not ours to see, but we can definitely dream of a better one and shape it well. To create a beautiful tomorrow, we need to have a positive approach and be hopeful in life. Hope is what builds our future and encourages us to prepare ourselves for things unknown. Such hope kept us going, throughout 2020. Such hope kept us believing that, unlike in the past, this time around our scientists who are now so well equipped with knowledge and technology, will give us a Vaccine that will save us from the deadly corona virus. And as was the hope, the vaccines to fight Corona virus were ready for use in a record time by January of 2021.

In India, there were two vaccines available to be given to the public and true to human character, people began to doubt them. Is it not human to doubt everything that one gets easily? “Doubt everything. Find your own light,” Gautama Buddha said. So, people began expressing their doubts about the ‘efficacy’ of the vaccine, about the ‘testing of the vaccine’ about the ’quality’ of the vaccine, ‘side effects of the vaccine’, etc. Every person I have interacted with after the introduction of the vaccine has shown some form of vaccine hesitancy or the other. In spite of numerous advertisements and messages encouraging people to take the vaccine, by well thinking people and organisations, I also had my doubts about the vaccine. The issue was not whether I had caught the doubt virus; we’re all infected to some degree, the real question was: How could I prevent that doubt virus from turning into a virulent disease that ultimately ravages all my confidence in the Covid 19 vaccine? Or, perhaps, this is a better question: How can I respond to my doubts in ways that will help me emerge even stronger as a result? As incredible as it sounds, a bout of doubt sometimes may turn out to be one of the healthiest and most hope-inspiring experiences you’ll ever go through. So, I decided to put my doubt virus under the microscope where I could expose it to scrutiny and destroy some of my misconceptions that give it undue strength. I ultimately decided to stand behind the scientific spirit, which welcomes the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them and I also went along with all the scientists, doctors and virologists and their knowledge and expertise. I surrendered my doubt and took the jab on April Fool Day, the day I became eligible for the jab! I did not want my doubt to paralyse me anymore. I needed to take the decisions I needed to take. I took the decision because even though life is full of twists and turns, without hope, or without the inner peace of knowing that better days are ahead, it is impossible to fully live. I am glad that between this see-saw battle of hope and doubt, ‘Hope’ won.

(Roli S is an Educator, Teacher Trainer, Author and School Reviewer based in Thane)