Vaccination: victory against pandemic

Six days after the arrival of 1.5 million vaccines donated by the Government of India, the Ministry of Health and Sports will launch its vaccination programme today.
The first ones in the line-up for vaccination are the health professionals, workers and volunteers who fought the pandemic at the frontlines.
Pyithu Hluttaw representatives will be inoculated against the virus on 29 January and Amyotha Hluttaw representatives and Tatmadaw representatives will receive the vaccination on 30 January.
The nationwide vaccination will launch on 5 February giving shots to the people including members of the Union-level, regional and state governments.
As the vaccination programme gains momentum, we are seeing the beginning of our victory against the pandemic that that has infected over 138,000 people and taken over 3,000 lives.
The Union Government has bought 30 million doses of COVISHIELD/Astra Zeneca from India, of which about two million will arrive in the first week of February. Meanwhile, vaccines provided under the COVAX Facility will arrive in March and vaccines bought by the state budget will arrive in April.
The coming months can bring logistics, public relations and communications challenges for the government and health authorities.
Another challenge is “infodemic” produced by social media with unfounded claims and false information which can spread all over the country in hours and days.
A monitoring system is in place to report adverse effects, but all concerns must be addressed fast. Effective challenges to anti-vaccination messages must come before hardening of attitudes occur.
Vaccinators including volunteers are urged to educate the recipients about how the vaccines work and their possible mild effects.
About 70 per cent of our population will be vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2021 and 2022.
We are confident that the experiences of the Ministry of Health and Sports and its health workers and experts in immunization programmes would make the coming national immunization programme against COVID-19 a success.
We have a long way to go until the majority of our citizens are vaccinated, but we should all be grateful to see the progress being made and keep the faith that a return to normalcy is on the horizon.
But, all must follow the basic rules and regulations — including staying masked and socially distanced until we are out of the woods.

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