Spotlight On Science

My timeline is flooded with two kinds of posts from India- the farmer protests and the vaccination drive. I have been losing sleep over the former and pray that sanity wins eventually and peace prevails. Rab raakha, in God’s hands, as I often say is the only thought that keeps me calm.

Posts of the latter kind however bring me hope and joy. While here we wait for the vaccine to arrive, in India, my friends, colleagues and other healthcare workers are posting their pictures and updates on getting the shots. The mood is upbeat and motivating. By choosing science over scepticism and community over self, they have sent out a powerful message. I hope that this would be helpful in building the country’s trust in data and research.

Gratitude is due to the scientists and the research staff who have put in hundreds of hours of research so we can flash our vaxxies (I’m trying to keep up with the vocabulary). The technologies were being perfected in the labs over years but the pandemic accelerated the process. That meant longer work shifts for them, staying at their workplaces and compulsory self-quarantines.

As a student of science, I have extreme faith in it and there’s enough evidence that it is not a misplaced one. What is heartening is that a lot of people around me are becoming aware of it. This awareness and knowledge will be the antidote to the fear that 2020 gave us.

For long we have blamed our burgeoning population to be at the root cause of all trouble. From poor infrastructure to poverty to education to just about anything, name a problem and someone is bound to put it on our numbers. I have always said that these numbers are our strength and we should make them so. Today I feel redeemed as I see people coming together and formulating ways to accelerate the vaccine’s outreach.

All those pulse polio campaigns and vaccination drives have given our people adequate confidence to fall back on. That confidence has given them the courage to take up the mammoth task of ensuring that the vaccine reaches everywhere. This is a good time to drive in that our numbers are what can help us if only we decide to work towards it.

With 45% of healthcare workers already vaccinated I am sure that there would be some who may want to usurp the credit for all the success. I insist though that the spotlight should squarely and firmly be on science and our people, our nameless and faceless foot soldiers. Its their glory and theirs alone.

Dr. Shivani Salil

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