- If a proper system was followed from the beginning the citizens would not have to live in fear and panic
The euphoria that followed the sudden announcement that a 24 hour vaccination centre has been set up in the Vihara Maha Devi Park for Astra Zeneca booster vaccine, prompted me to write this. From a distance it may appear to be the most pragmatic decision taken to address the woes of about 600,000 people who have been waiting for their second dose for months. This is of course if you prefer not to see the blind spots.
Reason to Panic
First and foremost, why did the people panic at this announcement? Those who only received the AZ first dose were waiting in vain for many moons. They are also not sure whether there will be any other opportunity to get the booster if they did not go to the Vihara Maha Devi Park. We have seen the uncertainly leading to many people panicking. Panic buying being the most common. Even with the vaccines, the panic was due to the Government’s inefficiency. If a proper system was followed from the beginning the citizens would not have to live in fear and panic.
Less Risk and Less Inconvenience
The question is not the vaccine roll out , but how safely this can be done. The health protocols remain unchanged that people should stay at home and avoid going out particularly to crowded places. People from the suburbs were wondering whether they need to rush to the Vihara Maha Devi Park. How are they to travel without being at risk? ? Even though the centre being open seem like an excellent idea, the only ones who can get there at night and beyond are only those who have vehicles. All others have to go during day time using public transport. The health authorities are still warning that the infection is still on the rise. Speed of the spread is very high. For the last few days the death toll was over 60. Can the state think of any other way to do this in a way to reduce and minimise the risk and less inconvenience to the people?
Hunting for Publicity ?
Many are of the view that the government has suddenly realised that they are on a bad wicket. According to them this was nothing new. Public displeasure over the Government’s action and inaction has been brewing for some time. When a person in death row was sworn in as a MP, when another was given a presidential pardon and given a chairmanship of a State institute , the people started regretting voting for this government. The teachers’ protest really showed that thousands are making their demands on the street. Obviously the Government party is craving for some good publicity. Whoever advised the President that if we expedite the vaccine roll out everything will be hunky dory, has misled the Executive. An experienced and pragmatic leader would really consult the “ right people “ to come to a decision in the best interest of the people. Reminds me of how Late Lalith Athulathmudali as the Minister for Agriculture consulted the farmer organizations prior to making decisions with regards to issues on Agriculture. Continuous failure to see things from the people’s perspective could certainly lead to the downfall of an administration .
Trying to set world records?
The fundamental mistake that the Government made was making promises and giving deadlines on vaccine roll out, which they cannot make. The people also should be advised that vaccine is not the means to an end. It should not give them a false sense of security like it did in April 2021. Why give a deadline, I wonder? We are not in competition with any country to set records or say that ‘we are the ones who did it the best!’ We are not in Covid Olympics. We are not going to get medals for rolling out the vaccines fast. Let’s not forget there are probably millions who have not even received the first dose.
Follow the existing Protocol
To all the administrators I want to say that just because you rush through this vaccine roll out, it does not guarantee full immunity. The world is yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We may not be able to open the country for another 12 months or maybe even more, as no one knows how the virus will mutate. You must and follow the existing system where through the Grama Niladhiris, PHI and the MOH office to roll out the vaccines systematically. This is the most efficient method and protocol and is available island-wide. Let’s at least now bring a method to this madness. The Government cannot go on terrorising the people and trying to control the people instead of the Covid-19 spread. Saying that without the vaccine card you will not be allowed to do this or that is ludicrous. COVID 19 is not a proscribed armed group. If we cannot understand this and take a healthy approach to address the pandemic, then perhaps we can see a different result.