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PPE Kit, E-passes: Travelling In Time Of Corona

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PPE Kit, E-passes: Travelling In Time Of Coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought human life to a standstill; locked inside the four walls of our home, we have started to appreciate the little things of life. Stepping out of the house has become difficult, and travelling is long forgotten.

In early July, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on Twitter: “there will be no return to the ‘old normal’ in the foreseeable future.”

During this tensed time, many people wanted to join their families to feel safe. I was no exception.

My journey was not a cakewalk as usual; this time, it was like going to a battle. Luckily, airlines such as ‘Indigo’ and ‘Spicejet’ were generous enough to assist stranded people like me in returning to our families’ safety. As direct flights were not available, I ended up opting for a connecting flight from Tamil Nadu to Kerala via Bangalore. Even though I knew it was going to be a long haul, meeting my family kept me going.

Airport looked more like an outer planet with people walking in protective gears (PPE), not that I was left alone. Prior to the journey, I bought myself a PPE kit containing a medical gown, shoe cover, cap and mask, goggles, a pair of gloves, a large plain sheet (two in number), and a disposal bag.

PPE Kit, E-passes: Travelling In Time Of Coronavirus

PPE Kits and sanitizers are a must to add in the list of travel items now – (Image Source: News Aur Chai Media)

Well, safety is a must, but to be honest, I could hardly breathe and see through it! At this moment, my heart went out to all the healthcare workers, police officers and military men who have to wear these kits for 12-14 hours of their work shift. Though keeping oneself hydrated is a must, but the struggle to get out of this dress code and paranoia of getting infected by using a public toilet, I threw the thought of hydration outside the window.

During the online check-in, all passengers were advised to keep a copy of the necessary documents. Unlike the pre-corona times, which promoted more handy hard copies, the Airport Authority now allowed soft copies. But being the ‘traditional person’ I am, my brother gave me printouts of flight tickets, boarding pass (since I had already checked in), self-declaration form (filled and kept ready), baggage tags and e-pass (from your immediate area of departure to the final area of destination).

If you thought this never-ending list saw some end, let me tell you an Identity Proof is a must. I also had to download the ‘Aarogya Setu‘ app to comply with the Indian Government’s Rules.

Welcome to ‘Contactless’ Service – Inside the airport

Once bustling with people, the airport now looked so alienated. Everyone with their protective gears on looked like we were ready to board a spacecraft. But that, the new norm!

As it was a contactless service, I had to keep my documents ready beforehand to produce in front of the officials once asked. I had also noticed that Cashless transactions had gained importance. The airport officials refused to accept any payment by cash. Either GPay or PayTM or Credit/Debit cards must be used to make payment.

Each passenger was allowed to carry one check-in baggage (max. 20 kgs) and a handbag (max. 5 kgs). Though it was advised to carry luggage myself, somehow, I faced problems lifting my own luggage of 20 kgs. To my fortune, a kind-hearted porter helped me place my bags onto the conveyor belt. He turned and assured me that he sanitized even his gloves before assisting the passengers with their luggage.

The child in me jumped out, seeing the colored tapes placed on the ground to maintain the gap between each person. However, being under the watch of military officers, I decided to behave like an adult and maintain social distancing. Even the slightest suspicion would have ended me with the trouble to open my bags, as the security is on the high alert now. Everyone was given with two trays, one to place all the electronic gadgets and metal items and other for bags and documents.

Now, it was time to wait for the giant bird! Yes, of course, in alternative seats. As I didn’t have much to do, and munching was not an option considering the situation and the majority of the food courts being closed, I decided to look around to find hand sanitizer at all desks. I saw ‘Yellow Dustbins‘ at every nook and corner, which I later found out was for BIOMEDICAL WASTE ITEMS.

PPE Kit, E-passes: Travelling In Time Of Coronavirus

Majority of the food courts inside the airport are closed due to coronavirus pandemic – (Image Source: News Aur Chai Media)

Before you wonder what these biomedical waste items are, they are nothing but face shields, masks, gloves, and other PPE items. At some point, I thought that at least some of us still have that caveman behavior intact, as I noticed that one of the passengers disposed of his face mask in the Food waste bin (Which is a BIG NO)

Just half an hour before boarding the flight, all my co-passengers and I were provided with face shields, masks, and hand sanitizers (as a whole packet). It is commendable how airline authorities took responsibility to ensure the passengers’ safety.

I noticed that the interiors of the airports and the airplanes were getting sanitized now and then.

Inside the Aeroplane

In the initial flight to Bangalore, the middle seats were empty. However, on the next flight to my destination, it full. Due to the large number of passengers, the cabin crew provided us with medical gowns (in addition to the other items).

After a few months of not seeing these giant birds on air, even the sky decided to show its happiness by bursting into ‘tears’ and shaking the plane into turbulence. I sat still and sang the three stanzas of the Christian Hymn, “Master the Tempest is Raging.” I maintained my calm and posture (for God only knows how hard it was to hold back those screams), knowing that we are safe in the hands of real pilots.

Finally, reaching my destination’s airport, I took out my phone to attend a call when a message popped up. At first glance, I was surprised that I got a message from the State Government; however, it was to confirm that my health check-up was over.

I was confused as I could not recollect anyone testing me at any point in time. It struck me that several airports, including the ones I had gone through, are screening the passengers to avoid the spread of the virus and detect any suspicious cases.

Out of the airport and at my home, concerned people from the Panchayat and the COVID Control Room called me to cross-check and confirm the address. They had also asked if I had any symptoms of the virus and some other questions. It was overwhelming to be at my home and then settle in for the 14 days long mandatory room quarantine.

Though the journey was troublesome, but will always be in my memory as it was something out of the normals. There are people to help out with any queries inside the airport. However, one minor slip can risk the lives of many. Let’s all be cautious not to cause trouble to our fellow human beings.

Corona

Hypocrisy of Federalism: Reply on Oxygen Related Deaths

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Death and Oxygen COVID II News Aur Chai

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry reported to the Parliament that no deaths were recorded due to a lack of oxygen across the country during the second wave of the pandemic.

The officials and ministers in eight states also denied fatalities due to the lack of oxygen. Whereas reports indicate that approximately 320 patients may have died in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic due to oxygen shortage.

The report by the Union Health Ministry to the Parliament has triggered massive criticism across the country. It has also prompted some significant accusations against the Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP].

The denial of the officials and ministers of the eight states regarding the same has also triggered a major rebuttal from within their parties, accusing them of aiding the Centre in hiding oxygen-related deaths.

According to a volunteer-driven data collation effort, DataMeet, Media from across 20 states report that there were approximately 619 deaths recorded due to lack of oxygen. However, later the cause of deaths was disputed with other factors that attributed to the fatalities.

MAHARASHTRA 

The state health minister of Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope also sided with the Centre’s stand of no-oxygen-related deaths.

“As far as Maharashtra is concerned, we have never said that any death due to oxygen shortage,” he said to a local TV channel on Wednesday.

However, in April and May, the shortage of oxygen supply in the state had prompted the Chief Minister, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, to request the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to inspect the proposal of pressing the Indian Air Force to arrange additional oxygen supplies for the state.

HARYANA 

A medical board in Hisar- a region in Haryana, had openly established oxygen shortage as a cause of deaths in the region.

Additionally, after an inquiry, 22 patients succumbed to Covid due to the lack of oxygen in Haryana.

MADHYA PRADESH 

According to the reports of DataMeet, figures indicated that approximately 68 deaths took place across the state of Madhya Pradesh due to lack of oxygen.

However, Vishwas Sarang, the medical education Minister, stated, “We received at least 10-12 complaints related to deaths due to oxygen supply disruption. Medical experts found the cause of death was other medical complications, not hypoxia,”

GOA 

In Goa, between May 10- May 14, approximately 83 patients succumbed to death.

But according to Dr Shivanand Bandekar, the Dean of Goa Medical College and Hospital stated, “We can’t put this as a direct answer. People who come to GMC, they are all referred because we are a tertiary (care) center where criticality is high and most of the patients die because of Covid pneumonia where oxygen is a part of the treatment. So we cannot directly say this (disruption in the oxygen supply) is the reason why they have died,”

However, during the hearing at Goa at the time of these deaths, the state government had admitted that “some of the casualties may have taken place” due to supply disruption.

Within the same hearing, the Bombay High Court had said, “We have long passed the stage of determining whether patients are suffering from the lack of oxygen or not. The material placed before us establishes that patients are indeed suffering and even in some cases succumbing for want of the supply of oxygen, in the State of Goa.”

Officials and ministers of several states like West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh took a similar stand while siding with the Centre on their “no deaths due to Oxygen shortage” statement.

Even though various reports and data reflect a significant number of deaths due to a shortage of oxygen supply within different states, the Center and the state officials have refused to acknowledge them and have denied that these fatalities are attributed to the lack of oxygen supply.

Health Activist Amulya Nidhi from Madhya Pradesh, claims that volunteer groups from across the country have clear case studies and data that report deaths of patients across various states due to a lack of oxygen supply. “If they are so sure about it, they should allow an independent team of experts to probe the matter,” he said.

 

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Why Are people Not Taking Covid Vaccine?

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COVID Vaccine II News Aur Chai

Since the beginning of the Pandemic in 2020, all people have wanted is to find a way back to normal. A way from virtual lives to real, social lives. Being trapped at home with limited movement has been fun for no one. And yet, when a solution is finally being offered, people are hesitant to embrace it. Vaccines are the solution to once and for all immunise us against this virus, but many people fail to embrace the cure. Even though the vaccination reduces risks in exposure to the mutating variants of the Novel Coronavirus, there are people reluctant to take the possibly life-saving shot.

A vaccine race began throughout the world to curb the spread of Covid, India being one of the leaders. Immunisation is proven to be the most successful means to prevent diseases. Still, there is always hesitance that follows with the process. Many reasons cause vaccine hesitancy, but three of the main reasons are inadequate knowledge and fear of side effects, the speed of vaccine development, and rumours and myths.

The biggest fear that prevents people from taking the vaccine is a fear of side effects caused by inadequate knowledge. Many of us might show reluctance in taking the vaccine, fearing the severity of side effects. This tends to happen because most people do not understand how a vaccine works and nudges our bodies to create antibodies in our system to immunise us to the virus.

Many people reason that the side effects make them sick when they have been in perfect health for so long. They believe that it is the vaccine that makes them sick. This cannot be further from the truth. The public needs to be made aware of the workings of the vaccine to promote the vaccination drive around the world.

The other cause for hesitancy is the speed at which the vaccines have been developed. Many people believe that simply because the development speed of Covid immunising shots was quicker as compared to past viruses, corners have been cut in the process. It is essential to know that this is not true as all the procedures have been followed during the development of vaccines. None of them have been permitted for distribution without clinical trials and the approval of the FDA.

The last reason is that of rumours and myths. The rural population, a key demographic in our country, is reluctant to take the vaccine due to a lack of information provided to them. The inadequacy makes them quick to believe in rumours and myths surrounding immunisation, consequently making them reluctant to participate in the process. Reports of death post the vaccine have fanned the rumour mills in rural areas regarding the fatality of the vaccine.

Hesitancy in vaccination can also be seen in another key demographic, women. The proof for this in India is the disparity in men’s vaccination ratios which are starkly contrasting. Rumours and myths surrounding vaccines have led the population to believe that taking the jab affects fertility in women. It is essential to know that vaccinations do not cause infertility in men or women. It is this kind of rumour-mongering that causes fear in people.

Misleading tweets by prominent figures also cause vaccine hesitancy. One prime example is senior advocate Prashant Bushan, whose tweets about the efficacy and safety of covid vaccines were tagged as “misleading” by Twitter.

Tweet by Prashant Bhushan

Misinformation being spread by prominent people is another cause of reluctance in people not taking the vaccine, which must be stopped to defeat the Pandemic.

Many people who have already suffered from Coronavirus also believe that they do not need the vaccine as they are already immune to the disease. This is a falsehood that needs to be cleared as a vaccine prolongs the effectiveness of the immunisation, keeping the person safe for a more extended period.

Vaccines are preventative medicines that allow us to acquire immunity against the virus, preparing our bodies to protect us in case of exposure to the disease. While vaccination may not provide complete safety, it reduces the severity of the infection and the chances of death.

With newer and stronger variants emerging as mutations of the Coronavirus, all of us must be fully vaccinated. It is the only way to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us. It is also the only way to make a return slowly but surely to what we knew as “normal” and stop living life as we have known for the past one and a half years.

 

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ZyCov-D Proposed As World’s First DNA COVID Vaccine

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ZyCOV-D DNA Vaccine II News Aur ChaiI

With the Delta Variant setting its wave globally, ZyCoV-D, India’s first Plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine, is in the running for an Emergency Use Authorization from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Vaccine maker Zydus Cadila, which already has anti-Covid treatments on the market, claims to have conducted the largest clinical trial in India so far at over 50 centres, with over 28,000 volunteers ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old.

According to the firm, with its 66.6 per cent effectiveness for RT-PCR positive patients in the interim study, ZyCov-D has already demonstrated solid immunogenicity, tolerance, and safety profile. It went on to say that no moderate instances of Covid-19 were seen in the vaccination arm after the third dose was administered, indicating a 100 per cent effectiveness for mild illness.

What is Zydus’ approach?

By mid-August, the business intended to be manufacturing 10 million doses each month, according to managing director Sharvil Patel. “We are currently only focusing our efforts on making sure we can make doses available for India,” Patel said in a virtual news conference. If the injection is approved, it will become the country’s sixth vaccination to be approved for use.

Patel added that data on immunogenicity for the adolescent children subgroup would be submitted in the next four to six weeks.

The pharmaceutical company has also provided data on a two-dose regimen for the injection.

What are DNA vaccines?

ZyCoV-D, if authorized, will be the world’s first DNA vaccine, according to Zydus, since it uses a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic code – DNA or RNA – to trigger an immune response against the virus’s spike protein.

How are DNA vaccines Different from mRNA vaccines?

In contrast to the viral vector vaccines or inactivated vaccines like Covishield and Covaxin, DNA and RNA vaccines trigger an immune response by using a portion of the virus’s genes.

The distinction between DNA and RNA vaccinations is that the latter is passed on to a different molecule known as messenger RNA. The DNA vaccination also uses a tiny electrical pulse to convey the message to the cell.

DNA and RNA vaccines are less expensive than standard protein vaccinations. They are praised for their efficacy and capacity to be produced more quickly. Because DNA and RNA vaccines rely on genetic code rather than a live virus or bacterium. They may theoretically be made more widely available.

According to research published in the medical journal Frontiers in Immunology in 2019, “preclinical andclinical trials have shown that mRNA vaccines provide a safe and long-lasting immune response inanimal models and humans.”

According to WHO, DNA vaccines have a variety of potential advantages over traditional methods, including activation of both B and T cell responses and improved vaccine durability.

Is ZyCov-D needle-free?

A needle-free injectable method is reported to be used to deliver ZyCoV-D. (NFIS). In most NFISs, a jet of fluid is accelerated to a high enough speed to penetrate the skin through a tiny diameter nozzle. The vaccination may have a greater acceptance rate among youngsters who are afraid of needles, according to Sharvil Patel, managing director of Cadila Healthcare.

The three doses of Zycov-D should be given on days 0, 28, and 56, according to Zydus Cadila. The firm is, however, working on a two-dose vaccination.

According to the company’s information, the vaccine candidate may be stored for a long time at two to eight degrees Celsius and for a brief time at 25 degrees Celsius.

What does the Government have to say about the indemnity of the Vaccine?

The Government is still deliberating whether vaccine makers should be indemnified, as Pfizer and Moderna have asked. While a final decision is still pending, key authorities have stated that there is agreement.

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