The pandemic is entering a new phase which appears to be more dangerous and more volatile, even for people lucky enough to receive vaccinations. In spite of this, it is very heartening to note that the vaccination rate in the Sultanate reached 53 per cent of the total targets until few days ago.
May be now one’s chances of getting severely sick is low, even with a single dose. In fact, vaccines are astonishingly effective in preventing long periods in hospitals or death. But realistically there is no perfect vaccine.
Some people who get immunity may get infected by what we call breakthrough infections. The proportion of vaccinated people who contract the coronavirus may increase as certain mutations make the virus less recognisable by immune systems and thus more difficult to eradicate. Breakthrough infections are more common when the immune system encounters a highly potent mutated virus or when large group of around you are infected.
Hence, we should continue with wearing mask and maintaining social distancing to reduce the risk of infections even if we are vaccinated.
Let us always remember that if you catch the virus, the target is not just you. Others also bear the brunt. One should also worry about people who do not have masks or ignore to cover.
Surely you will also have to worry about the younger children in our society, who are not yet eligible for the jabs.
Unfortunately, some people do not use the mask despite knowing that the disease is contagious. The repercussions of our behaviour affect those around us.
Perhaps the prospects of a vaccine to shoulder the burden of full protection was better a month ago, when infection rates were dropping. But if the cases are rising and more people lose their lives, we need more than shots.
Of course, nobody enjoys wearing mask or physical distancing. But let us sacrifice our comforts for the greater good of the community.
The situation will surely change for good once we achieve universal vaccination to keep the coronavirus away.
Interestingly, vaccines have been hailed as an alternative for physical distancing or the inconvenience of masks. But that assumption is naïve in a society where many people are neither immune or nor covered up.
One didn’t get vaccinated because one wanted to stop wearing mask. It does not work that way. We were vaccinated because we wanted to reduce our chances of getting the coronavirus infection and passing it on to others.
(The author is a physician, a medical innovator and writer)