20201211 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
Vaccine jab Image Credit: Reuters

As the vaccine roll-out for Coronavirus begins, there are many who are sceptical about its efficacy and its after-effects. Rumours continue to swirl, compounding the problem. However, I can’t wait for my turn.

There are reports of people with clout jumping the queue instead of letting frontline workers get the jab first. This is not unexpected in a country where pressure is applied to get preferential treatment. It is an extremely selfish act where you consider yourself more important than others. Waiting patiently for your turn is a habit many of us have yet to inculcate.

For those hesitant to take the jab, a recent newspaper report might make them change their mind. Taking the vaccine will not only mean inoculation against the virus but a leg-up in the job market, according to web platforms that connect service workers with employers. Hotels, catering services and other businesses will be keen to hire people who have taken the shot in order to ensure the safety of all.

Getting the vaccine is the hottest thing you can do to maximise your chances on dating apps! For example, on OkCupid, those who indicate that they have already received the vaccine are being liked at double the rate of users who say they are not interested in getting the vaccine. According to a spokesperson for the company, getting the vaccine is the best thing you could be doing on a dating app right now.

On Tinder, vaccine mentions rose 258% between September and December.

The job market might soon list a preference for vaccinated professionals and so taking the vaccine might just be the shot in the arm that many look forward to.

The UAE seems to be doing an exemplary job in Covid inoculation. So much so that Knightsbridge Circle, a luxury travel service in London, made waves when its founder, Stuart McNeill, said that the club would fly members who were 65 or older to the UAE to receive privately obtained vaccines. Since going public with the offer, the club has received more than 2,000 applications for membership and thousands of phone calls, e-mails and social media requests, according to McNeill.

For many of us above a certain age, we still remember having to be vaccinated against smallpox and BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) that left scars on the arm. BCG typically leaves a scar on the upper arm and was given as protection against tuberculosis. This vaccine was given any time shortly after birth and up to the age of five. The smallpox vaccine was administered using a special needle and it really hurt. Unlike the BCG vaccine, it normally did not leave a scar. But the site caused itchiness and sometimes a rash.

However, medical experts stress that it is important to dial down one’s expectations after taking the jab and continue being cautious in our behaviour to protect people around us. We must remember that little is known about this virus and its propensity to mutate is alarming. Most adverse events following immunisation are minor or temporary but, in the case of Covid-19, scientists have a difference of opinion.

What we must keep in mind is that deadly diseases like smallpox that killed hundreds of millions are eradicated now thanks to immunisation. No vaccine is 100% effective, even those which took years to develop. So, we don’t know how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccine will last and whether it will need to be administered more than once or twice or even on a regular basis like the flu shot.

This example says it best: Not getting vaccinated is like failing to stop at a four-way intersection. If three people stop and one doesn’t, the risk of an accident is relatively small. If two or three people don’t stop, the risk is much higher for everyone at the intersection.

Vanaja Rao is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad, India