732Published on January 31, 2021
Mamun Al Mahtab:
A question was haunting some people for quite some time – will the coronavirus vaccine ever land on Bangladesh?
That phase is over and another freshly brewed issue is here. All the speculations are bid farewell to as the vaccine has been rolled out in the country. All eyes are now fixated on the people who are receiving the vaccine as rumours about the side effects of the vaccine have been rife on social media for the past few days. The rumourmongers left no stone unturned and their efforts to turn people against vaccines paid off, at least to some extent.
They sowed deep down the public mind a seed of suspicion about the vaccine by fanning the rumours. One has to think about how arduous this task could be to instil negative thoughts about vaccine among people in a country where parents for decades entrust health workers with inoculating their children. But, the preachers of the rumours partly succeeded in what they ventured for as they planted a modicum of doubt among the people.
Having received the vaccine, I took no time to get back to my office at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University. A few days ago, I flew to Delhi to participate in an international seminar on genocide, before which I had come to know that my fellow traveller Nuzhat Choudhury and I were to receive a vaccine on Jan 28. It was a moment I waited with bated breath. By the time I reached the hotel at the end of the seminar, the clock ticked to 11 in the night. As dawn settled on Delhi, I got myself aboard the return flight. Neither the chilly weather of the city nor the time crunch to head towards the airport in the wee hours could push me back.
When uncertainty over whether my colleagues in Canada will be able to receive the second dose following the rollout of the first dose looms large and when the US had to defer the schedule for the second dose by seven days due to a lack of vaccine doses, my Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has managed to immunise us even before the workers on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 in the developed and affluent countries. Neither Nuzhat nor I could be that level of callous to leave out that scope. That is why I headed directly from the airport to BSMMU’s recently built medical convention centre to receive the vaccine.
Vaccination was followed by my official tasks and then the beginning of this write-up, which I consider as a responsibility to inform the people. Not even an iota of health complications did Nuzhat of I face due to the vaccine. Having received the vaccine, which is our sole saviour from the unseen monster called the coronavirus, I called upon the countrymen to wipe out the undue apprehension about it. It will not suffice to get myself immune to the coronavirus spell. But, everybody in the country has to be immune. They must know how safe the vaccine, COVISHIELD, is.
Just after emailing this write-up, I have to whisk myself off to my chamber at Labaid Specialized Hospital. With two days off to Delhi, I got my appointments with patients to spill on the days following, as informed by my chamber assistant. But, that doesn’t send me off the perch since my body allows me to run the extra mile. While feeling feverish is a faraway possibility, I don’t even have the slightest pain where the vaccine was pushed. Nuzhat doesn’t feel the faintest irritation either as she is also set to make it to her chamber.
No other experience equals the feeling of receiving the vaccine as tears lingered in my eyes. All these blessings attribute to the lady with a vision. Now we don’t just witness the pictures of vaccines rolled out in other countries on social media but are ourselves entitled to this immunity as well. Rather, the picture of me receiving the vaccine will circulate virtually from one end of the world to the other and will remind us of the great service Hasina did to the people of the country.