Getting Vaccinated
Posted on August 6th, 2021

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando 

The emergence of COVID-19 in December 2019 in China spread like wildfire. In January 2020, despite China imposing a lockdown in Wuhan, the virus spread to the mainland and eventually worldwide. The pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide. 

The death rate is over four million up to date. Sri Lanka managed to control the initial stages of the pandemic, where even the WHO commended the actions taken by the Sri Lanka Government. People had to stay at home, and workers had to work from home during the lockdown period to control the epidemic. 

The Government decided to pay substantially to those who depended on a daily wage. Unfortunately, the Opposition Parties and the JVP continue with adverse comments in criticising the Government rather than supporting it during the pandemic. With the Delta variant, there appears to be a new wave causing countless deaths. 

Health authorities strongly emphasise how to refrain from getting infected by the coronavirus. However, many tend to ignore such instructions, and as a result, the number of Covid-19 cases has increased. With all such restrictions and despite those who defied health instructions, the Government recently decided to ease restrictions to a certain degree and ‘open’ the country for economic purposes with special conditions in force. 

Once the pandemic began to spread throughout the world, various countries started developing numerous vaccines of different types. Some vaccines were sent free of charge to Sri Lanka by friendly countries, and the rest had to be purchased by the Government. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed the health authorities to end the vaccination programme by the end of August 2021, as Sri Lanka is already receiving adequate supplies. 

On 20th July 2021, Sri Lanka took the lead in the world community relating to vaccination programmes. The Sri Lankan Government has now embarked on a vigorous vaccination programme. Though it has not been made mandatory by law, rumours have unsettled those reluctant to be vaccinated. It is rumoured that a vaccination card will have to be produced to board public transport when seeking treatment at hospitals etc. Critics maintain this is equivalent to an illegal mandatory requirement adopted by public bodies. 

Public Opinion 

Most people harbour a reluctance to get vaccinated owing to the fear of long-term side effects. Their view is that compulsive vaccination cannot be made mandatory as it stifles the freedom of choice of the masses. Some even say it violates freedom of choice due to the provisions enshrined in the Sri Lankan Constitution! Critics also say it goes against good social ethics and makes an entire society cow down by restrictions.

 Indeed, it is their understandable fear as each one should have the freedom to choose because it concerns one’s body and life. In the UK, for instance, anyone has the space to tell their GP or a consultant doctor that, “No, I am not going to listen to your instructions because this is my body, and it is my life – and you cannot take decisions on my life and my body.” But it is a different kettle of fish in Sri Lanka. 

Critics against vaccination maintain that “unusual blood clots are a possible side effect of the vaccine”, and studies have proved it to be so. Blood clots in circulation are deadly as they may precipitate pulmonary embolism, strokes, and heart attacks! The development of blood clots places lives in danger, and what about other risk factors yet to come? Therefore, critics claim that guidelines should be given to service providers such as hospitals, transport organisations, cinema halls etc., not to demand vaccination cards and allow people to exercise their choice. 

Strikes and protests 

Due to the non-availability of toxic fertiliser for this Kanne, the opposition and the JVP have organised protests and strikes through trade unions, including the education sector, against the Kotelawela National Defence University (KNDU) Bill. Protest campaigns have taken place in different parts of the country. The Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary was arrested during such a demonstration and moved to the Mullaitivu Quarantine facility for breaking health guidelines. The Police proceeded to control people as they were gathering while ignoring the law. 

By behaving so, health authorities say another cluster may break out soon! Meanwhile, the online education system crashed when teachers withdrew in support of the protesters breaking health regulations. The Police naturally had to take appropriate action and send them to quarantine centres. People have a different opinion on Police behaviour in a chaotic state of affairs. The demonstrators had to be carried by the Police taking risks to their own lives whenever they submitted meekly.

The Government had no option but to utilise Army personnel under the circumstances to vaccinate people rather than sending them home being irritated and frustrated. It resulted in Sri Lanka coming on top of the list amongst vaccinated countries. Public opinion is that ‘with any dispute with the Government, the protesters should take it up with the regime and not interfere with online education of innocent children. 

Meanwhile, social media has gone viral with criticism that some of the JVP stalwarts’ children are studying in overseas countries while they turn a blind eye to the helpless children in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is crystal clear what the opposition and the JVP are playing a political game to make the present Government unpopular. 

Homoeopathy, Ayurveda, and Traditional Treatment 

A few Homoeopathy drugs are highly effective against the COVID-19 virus and cure those afflicted with the disease, immaterial of the variants, within 48 hours, with no complications or hospitalisation, says Dr. Mass R. Usuf (President of the National Association of Homoeopaths & Affiliates). He furthers advises that the Government Homoeopathic Hospital in Welisara can be utilised as a centre to cure those affected by Covid-19 – with mortality reduced to zero and fast recovery with no severe complications! Thousands of people would prefer to have homoeopathic, ayurvedic treatment or traditional methods rather than being subjected to vaccination and making their bodies vulnerable to serious side effects. 

It is especially so among those who believe in conventional medicine, which has been in existence from time immemorial, state that Sri Lankans had weathered many an infectious disease in the past. With the onslaught of COVID19, many Homoeopaths, Ayurvedic doctors, traditional doctors (vedamahattayas) have invented numerous methods to fight against the Covid-19 virus and its variants, enabling a boosted immune system to fight against any infection and as a prophylactic. 

The latest is a germ killer inhaler, using rare traditional herbs available in this country where our ancestors used to combat any epidemic. It is available in the local market and is said to address any virus, be it COVID-19 or any other variant – obviously more convenient than gobbling. It would violate human rights to compel the masses to undergo vaccination by law or by an illegal mandatory requirement adopted by public bodies. Critics are getting ready for setting up an anti-vaccination lobby to resort to legal action against any such moves! 

(tilakfernando@gmail.com)

One Response to “Getting Vaccinated”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    The only organized effort worldwide is for the use of vaccines which are proven to increase immunity against the covid-19 virus variants. Talking of Homeopathy, Ayurvedic and other traditional medicines is not a solution for a worldwide pandemic. The world is not ready for such cure at the present moment in time.

    ” Indeed, it is their understandable fear as each one should have the freedom to choose because it concerns one’s body and life. In the UK, for instance, anyone has the space to tell their GP or a consultant doctor that, “No, I am not going to listen to your instructions because this is my body, and it is my life – and you cannot take decisions on my life and my body.””

    For those who live in society, it is a falsehood to think that – this is my life and my body. This is not a truism. Though not well understood or realized, a person truely belongs to the community in which he lives. This is of course not if the person lives far removed from society and living entirely on his own, not relying on anyone other than himself. For all practical purposes living entirely removed from society it is practically impossible for one to exist, for everything that is needed for life comes from the community in which one live. In return one is expected live by the norms and needs of that society. This is the Social Contract we have with society.

    In this context it is wrong and morally not correct for one to refuse to get vaccinated. In the eyes of the world an unvaccinated person is a threat to society in that he is a candidate for getting infected and spreading it in turn.

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