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Beyond Covid vaccine

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Puludzu

There is a crisis in our midst. We are all searching for solutions. Sadly, lives continue being lost but, at least, there is hope that eventually we will emerge from this scourge and live normally again.

Experts are not sure about when this will happen but remain optimistic that it will happen anyway, because pandemics such as the Covid-19 have their ways of petering out. In the meantime, we have to continue fighting for ways of keeping it at bay, neutralising its menacing crusade and staying positive.

With a cure not yet discovered, the vaccine remains the most important remedy to the virus. Of course, there are other equally life-saving medical supplies that the World Health Organisation (WHO) approves.

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WHO states that vaccines save millions of lives every year by training and preparing the body’s natural defences to recognise and fight off the viruses and bacteria that they target. These are safe and effective vaccines—which the United Nations health agency approves.

So far, vaccines have been developed and some people have already got their jabs. Prominent figures have been vaccinated to show the world that the inoculations are safe. Of course, medical experts will always say there could be some side effects with vaccines just like any other medicine that humans take.

So what matters is the larger good, which is preventing the virus from killing people.

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Malawi is expecting to get its first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine next month. This means, between now and that time, the virus might continue raging and, sadly, killing people. It will not wait for the vaccine to come our way so that it can eventually disappear.

That is why it is important that we continue observing the regulations that are in place for curbing the spread of the scourge which has terribly altered the way we live.

It is tragic that some people still believe the government has to force them to wear facemasks, wash hands with soap regularly, use hand sanitisers and maintain social distance.

This is a war and, during a time like this, we have to lay aside some of our traditional ways of doing things. We must, for a little while, discard some of our beliefs as we strive to defeat the monster in our midst.

In minibuses, the measures that government put in place are mostly only observed during the day. At night, the seating capacity is compromised—as if the coronavirus goes to sleep. Such acts of trifling with life must not continue.

Then there are some people in rural locations who behave as though they were living in their own world. That there is an enemy that needs all of us to come together to defeat it seems superficial to them.

They do not observe any of the regulations that the government gazetted. They go about their lives as if everything were normal despite that they hear about the virus on a daily basis because no one can claim today that they are not aware of the pandemic which is killing people without discrimination.

Of course, people with such characters will always be around; that is why relevant government agencies and non-State actors must continue spreading the message that Covid-19 is real and must be fought from all fronts.

It has killed prominent people and that should have sent across strong messages about its threat. No one is safe, really, especially in this second wave which has come with its virulent strains that are said to be riskier than the first one.

The danger is that if this raging plague hits rural locations, where most of the measures to prevent its spread are being carelessly ignored, it might be a disaster. After all, experts are dismissing the claim that people in rural areas are stronger in terms of immunity and can easily fight the pandemic.

What remains important and proven is that prevention is the most crucial act in this war. A virus without a confirmed cure must be avoided at all cost; using any means necessary, and, in the meantime, the most probable means are what government gazetted.

We do not have a vaccine yet in this country and even when it comes, the doses will not be enough to cover the whole population. Of course, in several countries, they are first targeting some populations—which are most at risk of contracting coronavirus or dying from it—before they can roll it out to the rest of the population.

This simply means that those that will be left will remain at risk until they are also inoculated. In fact, medical researchers are not completely ruling out the possibility of contracting the virus after one has received their dose.

They still say recommended prevention practices must not cease. We must keep wearing our facemasks, use hand sanitisers and keep social distance.

On the other hand, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and disinformation on the vaccines. In times like these, conspiracy theories will always rise.

That is why WHO has always insisted that there is in fact a bigger pandemic lurking around and that is fake news and misinformation. Messages containing information that has not been approved by any expert continue coming out.

For instance, the world health agency has clarified that there was no cutting corners in developing the vaccines which are being administered on people. It says all routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of the inoculations authorised and approved for us.

All in all, the vaccine is on its way to Malawi but, in the meantime, the virus is still around and, therefore, must continue being fought from all the available and possible fronts.

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