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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Covid has come to stay

Whether we like it or not

Update : 25 Dec 2022, 01:21 AM

Twelve billion seven hundred million COVID vaccines across 5.47 billion of the world population make for impressive numbers. Novak Djokovic is one of the 28.7% of the global citizens that have either stayed away from or have been left out of vaccination.

Djokovic himself was strong-willed enough to put his sterling tennis career on the line by missing out on the Australian and US Opens, two of the major grand slam feathers in the tennis calendar. Yet he stands out as somewhat of a pariah for a conflicting positioning statement that supported his personal preference as opposed to not being against vaccination. 

Those who chose not to be jabbed were mostly suspicious of longer-term side effects and effects on the immune systems. This, in-spite of  physicians' reassurances that the vaccine was designed to help the human body develop wherewithal of antibody against the virus. As infections and deaths dropped significantly they went around gleefully with “told you so” signage plastered on their smiles.

That is, till the next theory of a second dose was pressed into action on the ground that the initial dosage required further support. Following in that was the booster to cater to the rapid mutation of the virus. The newest theory is that it will be part of our lives, requiring at least an annual dose.

The fourth course is already underway. More can be expected given the sudden upsurge of infections in China, leaving their government in a quandary. Public protests are rare under such totalitarian rule but for once public frustration has shaped policy adjustments.

The few voices that had argued against mass-scale jabbing, pointed to the standard protocol of vaccine development that had been rudely short-circuited. They were not given credence. Following a small but disturbing trend of unexplained deaths among some, shortly after inoculation new questions have risen.

Autopsies reveal that, in all such cases, there was inflammation in the cardiovascular regions. Physicians that have vouched for the vaccines are beginning to take U-turns. The majority agree that the efficacy of shots dwindle over a period. However, this group continues to support vaccination in that it prevents major complications and, indeed, death from Covid.

What it has done is to raise the same concerns that we're painstakingly dampened by full-throated scientific and political messaging. Those efforts are admittedly on the back-foot. Explaining how, after three or four doses, the death toll has begun to climb is a different matter altogether. Big Pharma, which has raked in a cool $134 billion in profits from vaccine sales alone, is comfortably placed with new and repeated orders.

Till scientists have figured out the shortcomings, not much will move, added to the confusion is a dodgy statement by the United States Food and Drugs Administration. Considered the gold standard in approval of drugs, the FDA says Ivermectin, the popular choice drug, isn't effective in Covid treatment even as it is linked to several research findings that suggest otherwise. In so doing the FDA has stirred from the embers of old accusations that Big Pharma “influences” the organization.

Along with this is a renewed call to allow for development of other firms of vaccine and medication to be developed by research teams in other countries. Not all drugs manufactured world-wide have FDA approval. Physicians, nevertheless, are content in prescribing whatever is available.

Health systems and medicine banks accordingly. Their ardent appeals for vaccine technology to be transferred for local production led to, for example, a Bangladeshi company tying up with Russian pharma. No one quite knows why that didn't progress any further. The money side of pharmaceuticals would seem to have prevailed.

Rapid reaction will inevitably have collateral consequences. The latest revelations aren't likely to exhume much confidence in either politicians or physicians. As always, the precluded general public will be expected to stomach their losses, move on, and crowd the doorsteps of the same motley. 

Novak Djokovic is unlikely to make a song and dance of it, though he would be perfectly entitled to do so.

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.

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