Several Indian-American physicians, in the frontline of the fight against the pandemic, are publicly taking the coronavirus vaccine and encouraging others to get the shots, emphasising that the vaccine is the “only saving grace” and a “scientific blessing” that will help the world win the battle against COVID-19.
The US began administering vaccines a week ago and has approved jabs developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
“We all should take the vaccine. It is very effective and we are seeing good results. The vaccine is the only saving grace we have right now and we have to take it,” former President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Dr. Suresh Reddy told PTI.
Reddy recently received the Pfizer vaccine shot and said he did not have any reactions.
“I’m very excited about the (vaccine). I think whoever is given an option they should take the vaccine. There is no need to hesitate. There is nothing to be shy about in taking the vaccine. It’s very safe,” he said, adding that the vaccines will help the world move forward.
With several global pharma giants developing the COVID-19 vaccines in record time, Reddy said technology and medical expertise have helped speed up the process of developing a vaccine and getting it ready for mass usage.
The COVID-19 pandemic “is a war-like situation and we don’t have that kind of luxury to do our routine exercises. I’m very confident that this vaccine is very effective and it is a lifesaver,” he said.
The global COVID-19 tally stands at I77,343,652 cases with 1,702,293 deaths.
The US has the world’s highest absolute number of cases as well as the most deaths related to the virus.
The country surpassed 18 million reported COVID-19 cases on Monday, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed.
Dr Jayesh Shah, wound care and hyperbaric physician based in Texas, also received the Pfizer vaccine publicly.
He said a majority of people need to take the vaccine as that is the only way to beat COVID-19.
He added that if about 70 per cent of the population takes the vaccine, that will help create herd immunity.
“The vaccine is indeed a scientific blessing,” Shah, member of Board of Trustees of Texas Medical Association and President of South Texas Wound Associates, said.
Addressing the scepticism people may have about the vaccine, which has been developed in a record time compared to previous vaccines that have taken years, Shah said, “It was all hands on deck. Everybody was working on the vaccines full time.”
He added that the time (to develop the vaccine) may have been short, but the amount of hours and resources that have been put into developing the coronavirus vaccines has been tremendous and almost at par with previous vaccines developed over longer periods of time.
“So many people are working non-stop with unlimited funding, which made it possible to get the vaccine. Vaccines have been there forever, it is not a new science.
“There should not be any scepticism about any vaccine,” he said adding that if people are able to get access to the coronavirus vaccine that has been approved by the government and by the right agencies, “people should trust it and take it.”
Both Shah and Reddy stressed that getting vaccines to the general population will take time and people should not get complacent but continue to follow the necessary guidelines to help control the spread of the virus.
“Science says we can beat the disease by using face masks, maintaining social distancing and regular hand-washing. These are the three basic principles that everybody needs to follow whether you get the vaccine or not. This needs to continue till we get the herd immunity,” Shah, past president of AAPI, said.
Reddy also stressed the need for people to continue to be cautious and practice social distancing, using face masks and washing hands.
Reddy said he is hopeful about the COVID19 vaccines and that companies will soon be able to scale up production of the COVID19 shots enabling a majority of the world population to get vaccinated over the course of the next few months.
Cardiologist Dr Avinash Gupta and president of Bihar Jharkhand Association of North America also publicly received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Former president of Federation Of Indian Association Alok Kumar tweeted a picture of Gupta receiving the vaccine and expressed gratitude to him for “taking the leadership role” in publicly taking the immunization shot.
Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s combined manufacturing network has the potential to supply globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Moderna said approximately 20 million doses will be delivered to the US government by the end of December 2020.
The company expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses available globally in the first quarter of 2021, with 85-100 million of those available in the US, Moderna said.