AS at March 3, more than 80,000 frontliners have been vaccinated, while 1.77 million people have registered their interest to be enrolled in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
After receiving the first of two jabs on Thursday, it was straight to work as usual for me. Though I have a history of mild allergies to some analgesics, I haven’t encountered any adverse reactions yet. Nevertheless, I adhere strictly to the SOP while attending to patients or when I’m out in public because the vaccine does not confer full immunity immediately (“One Pfizer-BioNTech jab gives ‘90% immunity’”, The Guardian, Feb 3).
Clinical trials have shown that the vaccines might make infected patients less infectious and so reduce transmission of the virus – which is, or course, the purpose of the vaccination rollout, to achieve herd immunity and eventually prevent transmission of the disease.
The question is: Can we go back to pre-pandemic normalcy following vaccination? Well, an increasing number of governments around the world are pushing for Covid-19 vaccination certificates, or the so called “immunity passports”, to open up international travel again.
The European Union has proposed a green pass scheme to gradually enable its citizens to move within Europe or abroad for work and tourism. Asean economic ministers recently also deliberated on the possibility of introducing a common digital vaccine certificate. And Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry has made it compulsory for pilgrims to get vaccinated before performing the Haj in Mecca in July.
While it’s an interesting idea, potential issues that could arise from an immunity passport include data security and privacy as well as discrimination, so I hope our government is giving the idea careful consideration.
For those who are still indecisive whether to take the jab or not, kindly at least consider your loved ones. If you’re unvaccinated and it turns out that you’re positive for Covid-19 but remain asymptomatic, the possibility of transmitting the virus to members of vulnerable groups who would suffer severe illness or death is high. Therefore, by protecting ourselves, we’re protecting others.
In this gloom, perhaps the vaccine is a new dawn.WIRZA