COVID-19 is one of the emerging public health threat in the world. The novel corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread in every corner of the world causing this pandemic situation. As of now (26th March), this virus has infected 126,131,275 people worldwide, among which 101,765,873 have recovered whereas 2,768,741 died. Nepal is also the victim to this virus with total 276,509 cases of corona till now where, 272,272 have recovered and 3,020 lost their life fighting the virus. Check Real Time Dashboard for COVID-19 updates
The definition of normal life has changed in everyone’s dictionary since past year. Going for morning walk with a bunch of friends, holding a social gathering, going to school/work, visiting different renowned places and many more regular activities were just for talks in the past year. Staying indoors, working from home, online classes was the new normal for everyone. For the situation to go outdoor- wearing masks and frequent hand hygiene were the most practiced behavior. We started to normalize ourselves in the situation which we never thought was possible.
Nepal was planning to take big step in the field of tourism with the campaign of “Visit Nepal 2020” but the corona virus came out of syllabus causing the failure of this initiative. Import and export of goods was highly affected due to the virus causing price hike in almost every item. Everyone irrespective of their age, race, caste, gender, wealth etc. were threatened and affected by the virus. Daily wage workers struggled to fulfill their basic need of food, health and nourishment. Despite the threat, frontline workers such as health workers, police forces, and personnel engaged in other essential services kept their services continue to serve the citizens fighting with the virus. On the other hand, scientists and researchers were making regular efforts to explore every detail associated with the virus for the possible preventive measures along with clinical trials of vaccine. Thus, none were left behind by this virus, while some people were fighting the virus, some were fighting the hunger, and some were contributing the efforts for containing the virus.
Corona virus is not only responsible for creating this pandemic situation but also creating a pessimistic environment all around the world. Everyone was eagerly waiting for the beam of positive light that would take the name “CORONA” out of their lives. Now finally the world is being able to see the light shining upon them. About seven different vaccines have been rolled out in different countries after validation from the World Health Organization (WHO) and currently more than 200 additional vaccine are under development with many in clinical trials. Production of vaccine isn’t the only challenge but making it timely accessible to those in need is also a critical point. COVID-19 in Nepal ; A Situational Analysis
Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator is a framework for collaboration that brings together governments, health organizations, scientists, business, civil society and philanthropist to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. COVAX facility is the vaccines pillar of ACT Accelerator that is working for the procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX facility is a partnership between CEPI, Gavi, UNICEF, and WHO. Nepal started the administration of COVID-19 vaccine on January 27 which was made possible through generous support from governments, international organizations, foundations, and the private sector. Nepal is getting AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India also called “COVISHIELD” under the COVAX facility. The Department of Drug Administration (DDA), Nepal decided to approve COVISHIELD for emergency use in Nepal. COVISHEILD is the first COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Nepal. The goal of the COVAX facility is to supply Nepal with enough doses to vaccinate 20% of the population depending on funding availability, in support of the Government of Nepal’s nationwide vaccination campaign. Nepal government is planning to vaccinate 72% of total population. The remaining 28% of population constitutes children under 14 years old who are not eligible for this vaccination.
In the first phase of immunization health care and frontline workers were vaccinated. The second phase of immunization included journalists, diplomatic mission officials and frontline government employees. Recently, the third phase of immunization was carried out that included vaccination of elderly population above 65 years old. Similarly, other phases of vaccination are also being planned out by the Ministry of Health and Population to cover the total population of the country.
The vaccination process is being carried out rapidly and at the same time the myths about the vaccine is also spreading rapidly. In this process many misinformation about the vaccine are circulating in the social media because of which people are hesitating to get vaccinated. People are choosing not to get inoculated even when they are getting the opportunity. These vaccinations are safe as these vaccines need to pass the different phases of clinical trials before rolling out. As like any other vaccines some side effects such as fever, body pain, etc. are common which is usual as our body have to develop immunity against virus inoculated in our body. These side effects are negligible compared to the effect that virus could cause i.e., even leading to death. There is no any news till date regarding major side effects or death due to corona vaccine.
Different organizations are continuously working on disseminating the right information and to clear the misconception of the people. The most important need of the time is to aware people that the corona vaccine which are being rolled out for use are licensed by WHO after undergoing different test and trails. They are being provided to the public because they are safe and they can help to slowly eliminate this pandemic situation. I urge that, rather than believing on the information posted on social media, people can surf the official page of different organization like WHO and UNICEF where we can find the right information about the vaccines. Loosing this opportunity to be immunized will be huge drawback in this fight with the virus.
Country is doing its best to provide its citizen with the corona vaccine now its turn of the citizens to be responsible and take part in the immunization process. Even though you are vaccinated, it isn’t sure that you will not be the carrier of the virus so following the precaution is important even after getting vaccinated. Washing hands with soap, wearing mask, and maintaining social distance should still be the part of our daily routine.
Let’s work together to contain this virus and move towards living a healthy and happy life.
✍ Kriti Banstola
Kathmandu Academy of Health Science
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