I was watching the news today. On the same show, the news anchor reported ‘about the hostile situation in Afghanistan with a graphic display of thousands of people outside the airports/ embassy trying to escape the country that is now taken over by Taliban following withdrawal of US troops’ and ‘anti-vaxers protest in France with people quoting they were standing up for their deprivation of liberty’.
Only this morning, I saw an insta-viral video where a woman in her desperation was passing her baby, possibly just a few months old, to a US soldier across a wired fence. ‘Why?’, my mom questioned. ‘It’s your baby. If you are dying, you die with it. Who gives away a baby like that?’. A part of me thinks, the mother may have thought, if she didn’t make out of the situation alive, at least her baby will see the end of the day and if lucky may end up even being adopted in a good family, a life without fears that has ruled her all her life. People feel for babies. Her baby ‘alone’ has more chances of making it out of the country than ‘baby with her’. At the same time, like my mom, my maternal instincts deeply question her sanity.
Naturally, after seeing footage like that, watching some random anti-vaxxer talking about ‘being evaded of human rights’ by just being asked to ‘wear masks’ or ‘to be vaccinated’ feels like being punched in the gut with a sharp blow. When the government is investing millions, scientists are in their labs night after night, and two of my friends were forced to take 2-3 months out of their training because of work burnout and its impact on their mental health; woman, you really are tickling our bones.
If you don’t want to be vaccinated or wear masks. It is on you. As an adult human, one is allowed to make choices and decisions, even if it is an unconventional one as long as it is an informed decision. But please don’t go harassing people who are wearing them, leave your opinion to yourself and don’t say ‘it’s the church!’. I’m not christian. But I don’t think anywhere in the holy books says, ‘don’t get vaccinated’, ‘don’t wear masks’.
Many anti-maskers are anti-vaxxers but not the other way around, it seems.
It’s sad when you see the impact of these few people on the ‘knock on’ effect on family/society. My colleague said he had reviewed a patient a couple of nights ago who was really ill with covid and was requesting to be jabbed in the last minute. He said, he was heartbroken to reply ‘unfortunately it is too late’ and even more so when he heard, it was not entirely her decision. Her daughter was an anti-vaxxer and had an overwhelming influence on her. ‘I think she feels guilty for putting her mother in a situation like that…’ He sighed. ‘God, I hope so. How do you live with yourself when things go wrong because of your one decision?’
I don’t know if vaccination does prevent you from reaching this stage. Only 3 days ago, we admitted a young individual with COVID to ITU with high oxygen requirements who had been doubly jabbed and who prior to this, had been quite fit and well. But from experience of working this long with covid, I think, I speak for everyone of my colleagues, ‘we definitely believe the vaccination gives some degree of protection. Clinically we are seeing fewer people becoming really unwell with it and lesser in-hospital deaths compared to the first wave’.
Is there a reason why you didn’t have a vaccination?’ It is one of the routine questions we ask now, with a purpose especially to educate about it, if someone is only waiting to seek more information before booking an appointment. ‘Well I was told, I am medically exempt from wearing masks. So I thought, I must be immune to disease for some reason and I did not require vaccination either’. How plausible do you think her explanation is?
Sadly a patient of ours who had a renal transplant and was on a lot of immunosuppressive medications and who was doubly vaccinated, caught COVID after attending Wembley football euro venue and has recently passed away. All those things he went through, shielding, precautions, medications,convincing the transplant team that he is a right candidate at mid-70’s and patience… Wrong decisions are costing lives. And sadly people are still not understanding the ramifications of it.
I don’t know why the media find it surprising when a doctor from Alabama refused to treat patients who had opted out for vaccination. The Independent on 21/08/21 wrote, ‘Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate in America, with just 36% of its patients inoculated’. All health professionals are getting frustrated with people’s ignorance. We, like everyone, are desperate for the world to return to normal days without COVID. And for that, majority of us needs to be on board.
I still advise you to take precautions. Maintaining a little hygiene with sanitisers and hand washing saves you, not only from COVID but also a lot of other germs. I mean, it is a part of general cleanliness, isn’t it? I also recommend people to still use masks especially on big gatherings and closed spaces with other people.
We use masks at work. Honestly I feel so much safer with it near patients. Unlike the public, who have a choice to work from home, or a safer environment where one can limit one’s exposure, we cannot. We are repeatedly exposed to the virus everyday, every minute, from bay to bay, one patient to another.
While COVID is the fear we are living in privileged blessed countries. In Afghanistan, people are facing more imminent threats; gun &physical violence, sexual violence, starvation and death. So if I’m switching my channel today from listening to individuals from anti-vaxx movement preaching random words like ‘human rights’ to the actual humanitarian crisis that afghans are now facing. Have no doubts, I am actively doing so.