As Vaccine Arrives

On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir received over 80,000 doses of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The inoculation drive will begin on January 16, along with the rest of India. As for the far-off places choppers have been arranged to supply the vaccines. Similarly, the vaccines will also be lifted to snow-bound places. In the first phase, three groups of people comprising health workers, and the frontline workers like police personnel, paramilitary forces personnel, and sanitation workers will be covered. The general population will be considered later.

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases has been progressively declining in J&K. On Wednesday, the union territory did not report any coronavirus deaths and only 121 new positive cases were recorded, 55 of them from Jammu division, taking the number of infected people to 1,22,885. The number of active cases has dropped to 1,629 while 1,19,344 patients have recovered so far. The death toll now stands at 1,912.

Most of the fresh cases were concentrated in Jammu and Srinagar cities – 47 and 35 respectively. Anantnag, Kulgam, Poonch, Ramban, Reasi and Kishtwar did not report any fresh cases. The cases were in single digits in the 12 districts.

The arrival of the vaccine is, however, no reason to be complacent about the safety precautions. On a positive note, the number of infections in India has drastically reduced since the peak of summer when the daily tally had touched around one lakh. Similarly the mortality rate has gone down in the country. Some experts are thus even suggesting that India shouldn’t be in a hurry to go for vaccination and wait for the virus to self contain itself as is the case now.

Things from hereon are only expected to look up. While the union government will need to take measures to steer the nation through this crisis, the onus is also on the ordinary people to exercise the safety precautions to ensure the infection is held in check.

With vaccine on the scene, the situation seems to be moving in the positive direction. After initial logistical challenges, the distribution of the vaccine will become progressively easy. This, in turn, will hopefully enable the return of the old normalcy.

But it will be some time before the vaccine is available to all. So, people will need to continue to exercise caution, something that, sadly, is not the case now. A small number of people uses masks. And with vaccines being administered, the complacency is likely to grow. So, it is important to ensure that the guard is not let down at a time when people have to wait only a few months more before the vaccine is widely available.

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