Looking at the statistics from around the world, it is almost certain that the third wave of COVID-19 will hit Nepal. Older people were affected during the first wave and the young population in the second wave.

Individuals and children who have not been vaccinated are more likely to be affected by the third wave. It is, thus, imperative to start preparations to face the third wave of the coronavirus.

The main reason for this is the mutation caused by the virus.

In the first wave, the virus mainly attacked the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. The second wave is attacking the youth in large numbers.

The third wave is likely to attack children. Because except for the children, most are already infected or vaccinated. As there is no vaccine for children, it is important to keep them safe by vaccinating others.

When a lot of people in a community are vaccinated, the virus has a hard time circulating because most of the people it encounters are already immune to it. So the more people are vaccinated, the less likely they will be exposed to the harmful pathogens.

This is called herd immunity.

Vaccination not only protects oneself, but it also protects those in the community who are unable to be vaccinated (like the paediatric population).

That is why everyone is encouraged to get immunised if they are able to do so.

However, no vaccine provides 100 per cent protection, and neither does herd immunity.

Vaccines do not stop the virus from entering the body, they prevent you from developing severe symptoms. Therefore, we still need to follow all the safety measures. We need to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus. This means maintaining physical distance of at least 1 metre, covering the mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing, frequently washing your hands, sanitising frequently touched items, wearing a mask and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated rooms.

To keep children safe, parents should be vigilant and avoid parties and gatherings at home.

Children should be made to wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing even at home. A balanced diet with all essential nutrients should be followed to increase their immunity.

Do not ignore any symptoms.

If your child has a cough, cold or fever, consult a doctor immediately.

Parents should isolate themselves away from the children if they feel sick or have symptoms such as a cough, cold and fever. Educate your children about COVID and how it spreads, and ways to prevent it. Teach them about fighting COVID and overcoming it.

Let's keep our self-confidence high. Let's think positively and have such an attitude.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.