Have you vaccinated? This question crops up often in conversations. More questions follow: Did it hurt? Are you okay? Any side-effects? I should also get it soon. These queries are fine. They are essential for increasing awareness of vaccines.
More and more people are coming forward to get vaccinated, which is a good thing. It’s reflected in the UAE’s vaccination rate. More than 5.66 million doses have been administered. That translates into 57 doses per 100 people, which is very high.
This is praiseworthy since the infections are continuing to surge worldwide. While some countries are grappling with a fourth wave, others haven’t recovered yet from the second wave. Then there’s the threat of variants. More variants are being reported. There’s now a California strain and a New York strain. The earlier variants were identified in the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and the United States.
Even countries and states that have successfully fought off the early COVID-19 onslaught are suffering. New Zealand and Vietnam have imposed strict regulations, and the southern Indian state of Kerala is battling a surge in cases. These places have a highly susceptible population unexposed to the virus since they have tamped down on transmissions very early.
Vaccines are not passports to a normal life
The threat from coronavirus is still lingering. We have to protect ourselves. And vaccinations offer the best protection now. But we have to remember is that vaccines are not passports to a normal life. We can’t cast away the safety protocols. We are still not in the clear.
True, we can’t always remain indoors. Some have to go to offices; others have to do the school run, grocery shopping, et al. The safety protocols will safeguard us, so long as we don’t slip up. But then, we are human. To err is human… There’s the danger.
So how do we manage our lives? Go out only if you have to, even if you are vaccinated. And follow the safety protocols strictly. The government has announced strict regulations and fines to limit the number of people in shops, restaurants, and other public areas. There are stickers on the floor, clearly marking the spots for social distancing.
But people are people. They all have masks and sanitise their hands frequently. However, when it comes to social distancing, they don’t seem to care. Watch the people on escalators, elevators and in hypermarkets: they are all jostling for space. A nightmare scene.
We can’t change people. But our safety is in our hands. We should keep a distance if they don’t. And tell others too. Our health’s at risk. So act swiftly.
Social distancing is as important as wearing masks and washing hands. That also means putting a bridle on our social life. These are not normal times. The parties and get-togethers can wait. Our lives are more important.
Some people work from home, citing comorbidities. But their social media posts tell a different tale. And I wonder: Are they out of their minds? Maybe, I’m a coward. Because I go out only if I absolutely have to. And I take a lot of precautions. I haven’t visited any of my friends or relatives in the past several months.
You could take all the precautions. But the few seconds when you take off the mask to click that selfie for an Insta post could be enough for a virus to sneak into your nostril. Do you really want to risk it? I won’t.