About the author
Born to Late SK Dutta, Senior Metallurgist in Bhilai Steel Plant and Chhanda Rani Dutta, Anuradha Sharma received strong human values from her parents and brother Late Dr (Capt) Devabrata Dutta, Dental Surgeon, SECL Korba. She received her schooling from EMMS, Sector X, and SSS Sector X, Bhilai and maintains her roots in Bhilai. Graduating from MGM Medical College, Indore she went on to pursue House Job in Medicine from W. Rly Hospital, Mumbai and MD in Microbiology from TN Medical College & BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai. Presently, she is working as Professor in Microbiology, Faculty of Dentistry, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
The above poem has not been so relevant as it is today when everyone is living in fear.
Life since April 19, 2021, has taken a new perspective for me. Arranging for medicines, blood tests, RT – PCR test, CT scan lungs, ambulance, hospital admission, plasma, sarcastic comment from an unknown caller asking me how as a doctor I am unable to arrange plasma, budget management, phones not picked up in time, answering phone calls, managing four patients at home, no driver, shunning of quarantined family….the list is endless.
Both my inlaws were vaccinated with COVISHIELD in Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi. My father in – law’s SPO2 was diving down and he passed away on May 09, 2021. His lungs were totally damaged. He was 84yrs of age.
My husband is still admitted in the hospital. He had received one dose of COVAXIN, after which, for 14 days he had rashes (which we kept reporting to AIIMS RAK OPD daily and kept popping anti-allergy on their advice ) and, from day 16th onwards, he started to have fever and finally he also had to be admitted on May 03, 2021, as his SPO2 level was not being maintained and his CT Lung score was 14/25, Doxycycline, Ivermectin, Faviflu, Steroids, Zinc, Vitamin C, Clexane injections and 02 concentrators.
I also became COVID positive with a temperature of 102-103°F.
I was waiting to get vaccinated with my husband’s second dose. My mother-in-law (vaccinated, both doses) is in isolation and unaware of father in – laws’ death.
We have been following all COVID – appropriate behaviour too since March 2020 and being good citizens we have not gone anywhere outside, not to anyone’s house, no get-togethers, no outside maid, not taken my in- laws’ to ancestral house, no outside food, not allowed any friends or relatives to our home, lived a jailed life since March 2020.
I am grateful to my school friends for organising medicines, grocery and to each and every healthcare personnel and my fraternity members for organising oxygen concentrator my neighbour for organising hospital bed, ICU facility, medicines, to the ambulance driver for oxygen, to the hospital for giving COVID room to my husband’s and ventilator bed to my father in – law and finally to my brother-in-law for doing the funeral rites in as per Hindu rituals on May 10, 2021, in a dedicated COVID crematorium.
My husband is in hospital and is being looked after by the healthcare personnel, who are stretched beyond their limit. God bless them all. Each and every citizen has risen to the occasion as always.
Many such narratives are happening around us and it is very paralysing. Paralysing, because we have accepted it as the new normal. My neighbour in Durg, Chhattisgarh, 60 yrs of age, died 19 days after the first dose of COVISHIELD. She had to wait for half an hour before the number of candidates was reached, followed by another ½ hour of observation time. Our family friends’ younger brother passed away on April 25 in New Delhi, after 15days first dose of the vaccine.
Last year, though there was no vaccine, there was no such mortality, morbidity. So, then is something horribly wrong? With the entire campaign? With the centres? There are too many variables, the virus, the vaccine options, the behaviour of the Indian population, the co- morbidities.
In vaccination centres, there is a lot of crowding. People are sneezing, coughing and there is no safe distancing. They come with cloth masks placed below the chin, speaking loudly into their mobile phones. How much can the health personnel do?
People have to be educated and fined if guidelines are not followed strictly. These centres have become super-spreaders.
Elderly people are dying even after vaccination. So, what is happening? It is being said that they have co-morbidities so the mortality. Also, that different people respond differently. But differently should definitely not be inclusive of death. Vaccination was supposed to protect them, not push them to death.
Also, elderly people have neurological disorders e.g Alzheimer’s etc. So, should they be taking the vaccine or not ? All this needs to be relooked at.
India has always been ahead in vaccination campaigns and remembers that vaccines are meant to protect us from Infections. If that basic purpose is not served, we should look for fallacies in the entire loop and closely observe the victory patterns of India’s Immunisation Programme till date:
● Cold chain maintenance
● Q.C of every batch.
● Potency dose.
● Is any aerosol being generated during vaccine inoculation?
While withdrawing the vaccine from the vial? Very far fetched, but still a thought.
● Is the à la carte model doing more harm than good? Or we are just becoming guinea pigs?
● Is the mode of administration correct?
● Are standard precautions in place?
● What is the adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour. If not, closure of such centres should be the mandate.
There should be a national digital registry where me, my family, my friends, everyone, can report the good, the bad, the truth. This will generate data that is not skewed up.
We were taken unaware by the pandemic and very surprisingly there has been no international condemnation of China. Vaccination was a welcome relief, but, there are deaths of vaccinated as well as non -vaccinated persons. The dynamics of the virus after vaccination is a cause of great concern.
Science has to know all, in order to walk ahead.
Otherwise, we will stagnate.
Stagnate in fear, in denial, in calm acceptance, in daily repetitive articles that do not revive the dead.
We are all so obedient citizens, that our voices are stifled,
We have faith in ourselves, in our God…..
But then, where is Science?
Science cannot be blinded by faith.