Corona vaccine from India: A lifesaver for Nepal
Quite a few vaccines are being rolled out around the globe at the present. In the United States, the PfizerCOVID-19 vaccine has received widespread acceptance. It is said to have an efficiency of 94 per cent. et another vaccine by Johnson and Johnson is said to be three percentage points more efficient at 97 per cent. These vaccines are prohibitively costly for the poor people, especially from the developing world
The gift of one million vaccines from India is reminiscent of the delivery of the Sanjibani herb by monkey God Hanuman of the Ramayan fame. It brought Laxman back to life from the jaws of death like the legendary bird, Phoenix, which is said to have come out of the ashes.
These vaccines also will play almost a similar role as these will render the frontline workers of Nepal, especially the health workers, immune from the coronavirus.
This will certainly improve the chances of the common citizens to regain their health after receiving full attention of the medical persona. The health workers themselves were vulnerable to the virus and could not be at their best when it raised its ugly head back in January last year. As a result, so many breathed their last during treatment.
Quite a few vaccines are being rolled out around the globe at the present. In the United States, the Pfizer- COVID-19 vaccine has received widespread acceptance.
It is said to have an efficiency of 94 per cent. Yet another vaccine by Johnson and Johnson is said to be three percentage points more efficient at 97 per cent. These vaccines are prohibitively costly for the poor people, especially from the developing world.
Moreover, they need to be stored at a very low temperature, which is not practical in developing countries like Nepal. For Nepal, Covishield, an Astra Zeneca| Oxford University vaccine manufactured by Serum India Institute, is more suitable as it can be stored at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Moreover, it is affordable due to its modest cost.
It is indeed a great relief that the vaccine has been delivered within a month of its discovery, given that it took more than 170 years for the small pox vaccine to reach the ordinary Nepalis.
It was available only around the late sixties after Nepal reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Health Organisation when it was already in use in England after its discovery in 1798 by Edward Jenner.
King Girvana Yuddha died of smallpox in 1816 as he preferred to worship the Mother Goddess Shitala Mai, who was regarded as the goddess of small pox, instead of using the vaccine that was made available by Britain’s then Resident Representative Edwin Gardener.
Even the cholera vaccine took more than 70 years to arrive in Nepal, again in the late sixties, which was discovered by Waldemar Haffkine, a Russian bacteriologist, back in the year 1892.
It would have taken longer had India not taken the initiative to make it available to the countries of the region. It is not only Nepal but also Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Seychelles and Maldives that have received the first dispatch.
It is also seeking to send it to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka upon the reception of approval from these countries. India has shown how it is a friend in need and hence a friend indeed.
This is not the first time that India has come to the rescue of Nepal in the time of distress. During the last devastating earthquake of 2015, India was the first country to land in Nepal within hours of the massive destruction it caused, carrying huge amounts of relief and rescue materials. As a result, so many earthquake victims were rescued live from the heaps of debris.
Also, at the donors’ conference that followed, then Foreign Minister, late Sushma Swaraj, had paid a visit to Nepal and donated the highest amount.
It has certainly enhanced the image of India in the Nepali mindset, which had been otherwise tarnished by the creation of unease in the Nepal-India border and more recently by the inauguration of a road by the Defense Minister of India Rajnath Singh passing through the territory which Nepal has been claiming since a long time.
India must have realised how hurt Nepal must have been after its request for dialogue received not even a lukewarm response, when it was engaged in round the clock talks with China over a border dispute, particularly after being meted out similar treatment by China.
It had constructed buildings in Arunachal Pradesh that India has been claiming as its own as has Nepal that claims Lipulek, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani to be its territory.
India as the largest democracy of the world and regional superpower should realise its responsibility fully.
India’s not very consistent behaviour at times of being pound wise as reflected by the delivery of the vaccines followed by the penny unwise act of being insensitive to the neighbours does not auger well for its global stature.
However, such problems are bound to occur among neighbours, which can be amicably solved in the future.
Because now is the time of rejoicing at the availability of vaccines rather than spoiling the mood by remembering undesirable past incidents.
It remains to be seen how many people will show interest in this vaccine. In India, 300,000 vaccines were up for grabs last Saturday, but only 207,229people used them. Some 447 people got sick with fever, headache and nausea, which is a minuscule 0.14 per cent.
Some adverse reactions are natural with any vaccine.
For example, 29 people aged75 to 80 are said to have died after being administered 42,000 Pfizer vaccines in Norway.
In India also, a few people have died, but the report has hinted at some other factors rather than the vaccine.
One million vaccines make only a tip of the iceberg.
What is needed for the entire population is far more. Nepal has been procuring the drugs from India since time immemorial.
Indian drugs have proved their efficacy all these years.
The next round of purchased vaccines should land the deadly virus in the funeral pyre, heralding Nepal to the much-desired arena of peace and prosperity.