close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 
March 1, 2021

Normalcy and vaccination

Editorial

 
March 1, 2021

The Federal Education Ministry has announced that from today all schools in the country will go back to a normal five-day week. At the same time, the National Command and Operation Centre has lifted most Covid-19 restrictions, allowing indoor marriages and permitting local bodies elections to be held in May, as well as easing the timings during which businesses can operate. Of course, we recognise that all things must go back to normal at some point, and especially in education children cannot be kept away from schools indefinitely. There is already much concern amongst parents about the harm this is doing to their education and to their preparation for exams, some of which are already underway. But at the same time, we need the public to understand the importance of the vaccine roll-out and how it is essential for the safety of us all that the vaccination efforts progress with as little hindrance as is possible.

While some vaccine rollout has begun, notably among healthcare professionals, and the elderly aged over 60 and 65 have been asked to dial the government helpline number and set up an appointment for the vaccine, there is concern that the unfounded rumours and propaganda against the vaccine – seen both within the country as well as on social media around the world – will affect the number of people who volunteer to get vaccinated. That would be both unfortunate and irresponsible, given the fact that till now the country has done relatively well in keeping Covid-19 casualties under some semblance of control. Perhaps a well-coordinated effort at clarifying details and busting rumours regarding the vaccine would help people in realising that the only way out of the Covid nightmare is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated. More information, more clarification and a bigger effort to deliver the vaccine to all, so that they can safely return to school and work, is required. In this, both state and civil society – the media, NGOs, healthcare professionals – need to come together. We have seen how planned and coordinated efforts did turn-around the polio efforts in the country – despite the overwhelming conspiracies against the polio campaign.

All this is especially necessary since for the first time in weeks, over 700 cases were recorded in Punjab with 50 deaths. Due to the conspiracies and taboos suddenly being associated with the coronavirus, people too have been often reluctant to report that they have acquired Covid-19 or have been tested for it. The fact is that things cannot stay closed forever. And life must return everywhere in the country to normal patterns. That can only happen if the people are protected and the pandemic is halted by ensuring vaccines reach everyone. On the global level too, efforts are underway to ensure that vaccines reach all countries, not just the richer ones. In this regard, the UN Security Council unanimously agreed on a resolution on Friday. The new improvement in ties between the US and China has also aided this resolution. We hope it can enable the world to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.