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The Best Shot

As we get closer to completing one year since the pandemic breakout happened, we look at the present-day scenario when the vaccination has already started; giving a ray of hope to everyone alike. While there are certain apprehensions about the effectiveness of the vaccine, besides its side effects, we speak to senior doctors who have got themselves vaccinated. These doctors firmly believe that there is nothing to fear about and we all must go ahead with it when the time comes. We asked them what motivated them to take the plunge, despite the floating suspicion about the effectiveness of the vaccine and what is their take on why it is a must to get vaccinated.

Dr. Amit Kumar Mandal, Director, Pulmonology, Sleep & Critical Care, Fortis Hospital Mohali, says, “COVID has been controversial right from its origins, diagnostics, prevention, treatment protocols and now the vaccination. With the controversy in society and medical fraternity, we realized that fear of the unknown was likely to be a big hindrance to the success of the vaccination program. And with the respect the entire team had earned during the last 10 months, I felt that if someone from our team took the shot, it would encourage many to come forward and stay protected. There are a lot of questions to which we don’t have the answers, just like the COVID management, yet we did go into the battle and we have done reasonably well. All of this gave me the motivation to take the plunge for the first day – first shot at Fortis Hospital! There are no perfect answers in this world and COVID is no exception. We can develop immunity by getting infected and recovering from it or by getting vaccinated – but what’s the guarantee of a successful recovery and not a serious condition from the disease? There is no guarantee to the vaccine either, but I sincerely believe it’s the safer and the better option.”

Dr. Rishi Nagpal, a Panchkula-based general physician, says, “There was never an iota of doubt in my mind about the vaccine. As a physician I come across many patients in a day and even with all precautions, one is never sure when we may get infected by the virus. Getting vaccinated gives me a level of confidence in safety. As far as the “hulla gulla” of side effects is concerned, don’t we all vaccinate our kids? Don’t they sometimes have a mild fever or other symptoms post-vaccination? Same is with this vaccination and almost all health workers all over the country have taken the vaccine. There have been almost no serious side effects. Some had mild and some had none at all. We are being told by the government again and again that COVID has to be taken seriously as it has already taken many precious lives in the past year and one of the most important tools to fight it is by getting yourself vaccinated. So, in my opinion everyone eligible for the vaccination should get it done! Till the time all of us are not vaccinated, it is important for all of us to take extra care by following all safety measures like washing hands repeatedly, wearing mask, and practising social distancing. This will help in effectively handling the pandemic.”

Dr Swapna Misra, Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, says, “Someone has to take the lead. Get yourself vaccinated. Some protection by each one of us will create herd immunity. I was anxious but I had to take the lead as no one was coming forward for vaccination. Hence, being a doctor and the department head, I took the lead. I was the first woman to get vaccinated at the hospital. I did feel a bit sleepy for a day or so but then everything was normal. Now my whole team is vaccinated with Covishield.” “I urge everyone to come forward to get vaccinated whenever it is provided. Do not get scared as it’s our fight against COVID and together we can”, she adds.

She stressed on the need for vaccination as that is the only way to break the chain. Dr. Swapna insisted that people should come forward after vaccination of frontline workers and doctors is over. “I have noticed that people have become complacent ever since vaccination has started. Although we are seeing drop in cases, there are still certain places where there has been a surge in cases. Hence vaccination doesn’t mean, we do away with the precautions that we have been taking for all these months. Things can only get better if we maintain restraint for coming months as well to beat this virus.”

Dr Neeraj Kumar, Managing Director, Chaitanya Hospital, Chandigarh and Former President Indian Medical Association (IMA), Chandigarh, says, “Finally the vaccine arrived in January, which has made India proud as our pharmaceutical companies have shown skill and competence for large scale manufacturing in a very short time. Government has made tremendous preparations so that the process of vaccinating such a huge population goes smoothly. We, the healthcare workers have been the frontline warriors in facing this pandemic and providing medical care to millions of people at great risk to our own safety.”

“Today, on this very important day, when vaccination is being launched, we again offered to lead by example and be the first ones to take the vaccine. This vaccine has been extensively tested and proven to be highly effective. It can cause minor side effects like fever and pain for 1-2 days but we must understand that serious side effects are rare. It is a great weapon to be used against our fight against COVID – along with precautions like masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene. It is my humble appeal to everyone to volunteer for the vaccination as and when it becomes available for the general public,” he added.


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