Possibly every child or even an adult today, towards end August 2021, has this very same question keeping them vexatiously perturbed!
What is probably foremost on everyone’s mind, is whether there will be a COVID Third Wave in India? When will this wave strike? Whom will it affect? No one is thinking of “are we ready” as we assume that someone , somewhere would be doing that for us!
At this stage, all that we can be reasonably certain about is that the Coronavirus has not gone anywhere, a respite notwithstanding.
Learning from past experience, we will have to anticipate future waves, prepare ourselves suitably and reinforce COVID Appropriate Behaviours.
Bottomline COVID Appropriate Behaviour combined with vaccination, works to keep us safe! In this lull before the potential storm, it is advisable to make wise choices by staying away from Crowds, Crowded Places and coming in Close Contact with others.
Keep in mind that our safety lies in keeping everyone safe! Hence wemust strive to get everyone around us, i.e our family, our domestic assistants, our neighbours, our friends, our security guards, our drivers, in short, just everyone must be vaccinated.
The highlight of my week has been perusing the publication of a ground breaking article in the Medical Journal of the Armed Forces of India. This article is all about the effectiveness of vaccination in safeguarding those vaccinated with the Covishield vaccine (Astra Zeneca- Serum Institute).
The Indian Armed Forces began vaccination with Covishield on 16 Jan 2021, and the data pertaining to vaccination done upto 30 May 2021 has been included in this study by Ghosh et al. This ‘VIN-WIN’ cohort study was carried out on anonymized data of 1,595,630 personnel of the Armed Forces.
Participants were deemed partially vaccinated (PV) and fully vaccinated (FV) two weeks after the first and second vaccine dose respectively. Any person who tested positive for COVID-19 after vaccination, was labelled as a case of breakthrough infection.
The results of the study confirmed what rational public health professionals across the world had a gut feeling about all along, i.e the vaccine protected individuals against infections and against death ! In this study, the vaccine effectiveness relating to prevention of COVID related deaths was 98.53% and for preventing of breakthrough infections was 91.8% to 94.9% ! What can be better news than this?
Plain language translation- the Covishield vaccine works . Don’t hesitate, vaccinate. Whether you choose Covishield or any other vaccine, keep in mind that you will be afforded ‘some’ protection for sure. And isnt some protection better than no protection?
However, the euphoria notwithstanding, we need to be aware of the limitations of this study too. This Armed Forces cohort differs from the broader Indian population as the participants have a younger age profile with minimal co-morbidities, being a generally ‘fit’ cohort. Also the findings ideally should not be extrapolated to other and older age groups.
For a quick overview of the study you can listen to Air Cmde Shankar, an infectious diseases expert from the Armed Forces, by clicking on this video
Bottomline:Vaccination is effective! Do not hesitate, Vaccinate! Persuade others around you to get vaccinated at the earliest. Your safety lies in everyone everywhere getting vaccinated, sooner than later.
You may like to have a quick read- through the Key Messages for this pandemic and decide how best to disseminate these key messages to your family, friends, relatives and colleagues.
Every monsoon, across Northern India (mostly) we have lightning strikes injuring many and killing a few! There has even been a video circulated on WhatsApp in 2020, showing four labourers getting struck by lightning while taking shelter under a tree, in Gurgaon (captured by one of those ubiquitous CCTV cameras that abound in urban areas).
While researching for a chapter written for the Association of Physicians of India Textbook of Medicine, I learnt that lightning injuries are reported in the National Crime Records Bureau database! Go figure!
Lightning injuries and deaths are not that uncommon nowadays. We might have come across recent news reports of lightning strike deaths in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Some of these unfortunate deaths were due to taking ‘selfies’ outdoors during a thunderstorm and some were just folks doing routine field work in rural areas.
The first myth we need to dispel is that the tallest object only will be struck or that taking shelter under a tree will protect you. Keep in mind that lightning is impersonal. Try to picture someone sitting at 30,000 feet and trying to send down a targeted bolt of lightning to a precise spot! Unrealistic right?
Being outdoors during a thunderstorm is the biggest risk factor. When we anticipate lightning striking the ground near us, assume the “lightning position” at the earliest, and hope that we are not struck.
Bottomline Stay indoors when there is thunder and lightning around. Practice the simple Lightning Position.
Please do share the above info sheet developed by the Tata Trusts, with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to guide those around you who will benefit from it, especially to your building gardener, handymen, assistants, security guards, housekeeping staff.
Every contribution to controlling this pandemic is vital, so do not under rate your own role! You are the Change that you want to see!
To keep us and our loved ones safe, just practicing COVID Appropriate Behaviour is not enough! We need to vaccinate ourselves and our loved ones, as and when eligible, and also get others in our society to adopt COVID Appropriate Behaviour as a part of their lifestyle, and get vaccinated too.
Medical experts after analyzing all the evidence so far, have recommended that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the minor side effects that may arise after vaccination. Be wise, listen to the people who know their science !
To build up on the stellar work done in reaching out to the community across India in the early part of the pandemic in Apr- May 2020, the Tata Trusts have further developed the Key Messages which are required to be assimilated at the community and individual level across India. #OneAgainstCOVID
The first set of Five Key Messagesare about simple steps to be taken by everyone to keep themselves safe in these pandemic times.
The next Two Key Messages, are about stigma and discrimination (about cases, amongst those infected and those not infected, the vaccinated and those not vaccinated), which we need to focus on as the days unfold into weeks and months of the pandemic. Human beings are quick to stigmatize and discriminate! We need to resist this temptation, and express our solidarity with each other.
The last One Key Message is to get everyone vaccinated!
We all will be safe, when everyone , everywhere is safe! That’s the catchphrase with any pandemic control.
Bottomline Use every opportunity you get, to spread the 5 + 2 + 1 Key Messages to all those you know. Not just once, but again and again.
Please DO NOT share the above info sheet (s) with your family, friends and colleagues. Instead TRANSLATE into your own words and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.
We need you to take action, today, tomorrow and every day!
Please connect with us to discuss how we can assist you in planning and implementing a low cost yet highly effective Health Risk Communication and Community Engagement campaign focused on people you are concerned about, i.e your Company staff, your Society, your community, your school etc.
Work from Home, and even otherwise, most of us fully appreciate the unacknowledged contribution of our Domestic Assistants in making sure that all is well on the household front.
We have a responsibility in taking care of our Domestic Assistants, to reciprocate their taking care of us and our families. Let us make all efforts to get them and their eligible family members vaccinated at the earliest, and guide them on a daily basis to adopt COVID Appropriate Behaviour, not just around us, but at home in their personal spaces too.
During this pandemic, in civil society, it has been observed that there is a tendency for regulation and enforcement to go overboard at times, driven by misplaced apprehensions and baseless fears. Let us work together with the volunteers in society and in our Housing Societies,to dispel misconceptions by providing clear and actionable guidance within and outside the house.
Bottomline Simple steps to maintain personal safety and hygiene at home start with guiding our Domestic Assistants suitably. Guide, encourage and support them to keep everyone safe.
Please do share the info sheets with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.
In India as of 19th Jun 2021, though we have had many cases of COVID-19 across the country, affecting all strata of society (2,98,23,546 cases to date- as per mohfw.gov.in) , to give us a reality check, just about 2 out of every 100 Indians has experienced the disease, and the large majority of those, have got through unscathed with mild or asymptomatic infections. Maybe an even larger number did not get diagnosed, but suffered all the same. This would indeed be the most likely scenario given the state of reporting of diseases and the fragmented healthcare system.
By now, over a year and a half into the pandemic, we may personally know someone who has had COVID-19, or we may ourselves have been affected.
Even if you have been infected, and recovered, you still need to wear a mask at all times, when interacting with others, while maintaining physical distance. It is also advisable to take the vaccine (any), about 90 days after recovery.However, do check with your doctor, as these recommendations are evolving and updated frequently by the Govt of India based on emerging evidence.
If you are one of those who has recovered, you need to pay special attention to avoiding known long-term effects on your respiratory system, by continuing efforts at deep breathing exercises and eating healthy.
Bottomline Those who have recovered from COVID-19, can get infected again. They need to continue COVID Appropriate Behaviour and take a vaccine when available / when due.
Recovery and restoration of baseline health and fitness after COVID-19 is a challenge for many. Fortunately, a sensible approach will reap dividends when prudence is kept the bedrock.
For those who have never exercised or just waddled their way through life so far, before COVID, this is the time to seriously consider taking up some form of exercise that is sustainable. Do not rush into a gym membership, or buy that expensive cycle, without first figuring out what should be the path to exercise that you will tread on nimbly, in the decades ahead, to stay healthy.
For those of you, who were “into fitness”, reconsider your goals, and reset your standards.
You must and should take it slowly!
“Listen to your body” – this is keystone of any approach that you choose to adopt in the days ahead.
We have become accustomed to hearing ever so often, “No Pain, No Gain”, however our new lexicon has to adapt and evolve to the new mantra “Pain, No Gain!”, meaning that if you are finding any exercise or exercise level ‘hard’, it is definitely not good for you, especially if you are recovering from COVID-19!
If you have any medical problem with your heart from before, or had any effect on your heart while you were sick with COVID-19, it is essential that you consult an allopathic medical professional to ascertain your fitness to resume physical exertion.
Please get active!
Note to Self: this is different from exerting! Whatever your medical condition, you will benefit from making a beginning, with baby steps at first, to move around. Begin first by getting around your house, indoors, and then move outdoors. Exertion can be a later step.
You can begin with deep breathing exercises, do these at home, while seated comfortably, do these daily. Applicable for everyone, irrespective of whether you have had COVID-19 or not.
Bottomline Now is the time to contemplate taking up some form of exercise in a graded manner after you recover from COVID-19. Listen to your body carefully. Don’t push yourself!
Modern times, pandemic times, as people constantly in search of quick fixes, for everything in our life, we would be searching online for what we can do to get back into ‘shape’ (whatever that may mean to you personally!) . Hence this next section is just what the doctor prescribed!
Your health is in your hands (or your legs), but every journey in your life, begins with making up your mind first! You are the one who has to undertake all required actions to keep yourself healthy and well.
So, why waste further time. Just do it!
Exercise is beneficial not just for promoting recovery from COVID-19, but also serves to safeguard you from many lifestyle and other diseases.
The right time to start is now.
Bottomline Exercise is good for you. Begin any exercise with the intent of sustaining a healthy lifestyle through old age too.
Just begin whatever it is you choose to do, today. Listen to your body , while at it!
Please do share the above info sheets with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.
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After having lived through these pandemic times since early 2020, by now, irrespective of where we are in our lives, or where we are in India or in the world, we would have begun to appreciate that health is the only true wealth we can possess.
We would now be acutely aware of the importance that Wellness has for our Wellbeing. However, the human mind is rather fickle and we will just as easily forget the hard learnt lessons of today.
Wellness and Wellbeing are in your hands!
Stress is an inescapable part of our lives today, with the unfolding pandemic keeping us on tenterhooks. In normal times, a modicum of stress would always be welcome, to keep the excitement level up. However in these challenging times, we worry every day, for ourselves, for our loved ones and some may even worry for humankind in general.
Periodically, we need to take a deep breath and look within, to find strength, for ourselves and others. Having a daily routine helps, it gives a structure to our day, it may even give us a semblance of the feeling that we can at least control some part of our existence.
We must all try to find our own ways to strike a balance, however impossible that may seem. We can start with simple steps, such as writing down a routine, for us to broadly follow, the best that we can.
A daily routine helps in dealing with the stress of life in these challenging times.
In these stressful times, we may have also begun to appreciate that peace of mind is invaluable. We have to tap into our innate strength (yes, all of us have reserves of emotional and mental strength, which we may not be aware of) and get through each day, with a positive frame of mind.
Use simple approaches such as the 5 Cs to work on yourself. You have the ability, believe in yourself.
The ongoing pandemic is undoubtedly one of the most challenging events of our lives, and its prolongation is only compounding the difficulty of coping.
We need to recognize and acknowledge that all of us handle stress differently. We need to learn to handle the situation within the context of our personal and work life. Work-Life Balance seems to be a very simplistic term, however it is most crucial for us to strike a balance that works for us as individuals.
More than anything, this pandemic has taught us that we need each other more than anything else in the world. We need to reach out more, to our loved ones, to our friends, to our relatives, to our colleagues. Reach out often, simply through a personal message (and not a forward) or a phone call. Just do it!
Please do share the attached info sheets with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.
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Most of us are fully conversant with COVID Appropriate Behaviour by now, and are aware of what all is being done and has been done by the Government and other agencies to control the pandemic, with varying degrees of success.
Just to remind you, COVID Appropriate Behaviour, i.e simply correctly wearing a well fitting mask consistently, washing our hands periodically, not touching our face (mouth ,nose, eyes) often, keeping physical distance from others, avoiding close contact, crowds, and crowded places, works well for adults, and for children too.
However, what can help to more effectively control the pandemic and mitigate its impact, is, if all of us periodically disseminate suitable and consistent messages within our circles of influence, and motivate our families, friends and relatives to do so similarly.
The first Five Key Messages , are important to be disseminated to those in our lives with whom we interact with regularly, including our domestic assistants, our building security personnel, the housekeeping staff, vendors and shopkeepers. These five key messages, if adopted uniformly by society at large, will possibly be decisive in halting ✋the coronavirus pandemic.
The next Two Key Messages, are about stigma and discrimination, which we need to focus on as the days unfold into weeks and months of the ongoing pandemic.
First, there was stigma and discrimination about cases, amongst those infected and those not infected, now there will be the same divisive issue about the vaccinated and those not vaccinated.
We can be victorious ✌ only when we overcome these petty barriers that stigma and discrimination pose for us as a society.
We all will be safe, when everyone is safe! That’s the catch with any measure that is to be instituted / implemented for pandemic control.
The most important one is saved for the last!
The one Key Message to hopefully vanquish the Coronavirus is the latest weapon we have, ‘the vaccine‘!
Don’t Hesitate, Vaccinate.
We need to strive to get everyone vaccinated.
In everyone’s safety, lies our own safety.
Bottomline Use every opportunity you get, to spread the 5 + 2 + 1 Key Messages to all those you know.
Not just once, but again and again.
Please do share the attached info sheet with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.
Your family, your friends, your colleagues, we all need YOU, yes, 👉you ! to take action, Today!
Please connect with me if you would like to organize an orientation or training session on dissemination of these Key Messages , for your teams / organization.
In June 2021, daily, we are inundated with dire predictions about a ‘third wave’. Social media is in a frenzy commenting on the threat to children, parents across India are rightly perturbed. Is this all hype and hoopla?
The honest truth is that no one, not the armchair epidemiologists, not the mathematical modellers, not the ‘big doctors’ from premier national institutes, not the savvy media pundit – No one can predict with any level of certainty, whether we will experience a third, fourth or fifth wave. Going by the experience of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, it is reasonably certain that we will definitely experience waves of unknown magnitudes, over the coming months, before life comes back to as close as we can remember it to be normal.
Now, what about the news snippets of the likelihood of our children being affected more in upcoming waves?
Well, children have been affected in the first and second waves too, and paediatricians have found that symptomatic infections are far fewer in children as compared with adults. And that the disease is also less severe. Undoubtedly, there have been cases of severe disease amongst children, however not at such an alarming rate to cause apprehension.
The Indian Academy of Paediatrics came out with a guidance statement on 22nd May 2021, which they have assured will be updated as and when new information comes to light. This statement is reassuring from the point of view that the apex professional body of paediatricians in India, has given evidence based statements in an easy to interpret format even for the non-medical individual.
Children benefit from the protection of their parents no doubt, however children still need to be guided suitably in fully adhering to COVID Appropriate Behaviour as applicable for adults, i.e. Masks, Hand Hygiene, Physical Distancing.
As a parent, if you are anxious about “MIS-C”, don’t worry, a future infosheet will address this suitably, next week.
Bottomline COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) as applicable for adults is equally appropriate for children. With no vaccine available as yet for children, CAB is what will keep them safe.
Please do share the attached info sheet with your family, friends and colleagues. And do suitably translate and convey verbally to those around you who will benefit from it.
In case you need any additional info on any topic or theme, please connect with me directly.
As corporate India gears up to engage in an employee oriented welfare scheme to vaccinate them and theirs, the query that may crop up most often may be that “Will the Govt facilitate the process or will the local bureaucracy impose meaningless restrictions?” Such as “Cannot vaccinate in-laws“, “Cannot vaccinate partner if not married“, “Need to obtain permission in triplicate from local authority to reschedule appointment” etc (Disclaimer : I am just stating these in a lighter vein)
Finances would not be an issue at all, as for this important task at hand, budgetary allocations within the corporate budget would already have been made, and the private healthcare system is already geared up to ably match the requirements, with their ‘pay for jab’ model. Commercial supply chain logistics mechanisms may bring in efficiency, if the Govt plays ball, and permits Vaccine Manufacturers to deliver on commitments. Only time can tell how this plays out.
However, this post is about the other hidden paradigm i.e dealing with issues surrounding vaccination, which essentially is a voluntary activity, requiring the active endorsement and participation of the rank and file of a company. The corporate sector does not exist in isolation, their employees are a part of the same society as every citizen of the country.
Corporate leadership and HR professionals will appreciate in due course, once the initial heady, feel good factor of getting and giving jabs is done and over with, that there is definite scope for focused campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy, vaccine anxiety and even vaccine envy, while also needing to decide on an organizational approach to ‘Anti vaxxers’. Think ahead! Six months down the line, would you want 10% of the workforce on the shop floor or in the office building, unvaccinated ? Keep in mind that vaccination remains a voluntary action.
This situation provides an opportunity for philanthropic agencies and foundations, who can become visionary “agents of change” to collaborate with suitable academic partners, and assist the corporate sector in customizing Social and Behaviour Change Communication campaigns focused on these vexatious vaccination related issues.
Or alternatively, such campaigns can be taken on by Advertising agencies, with professional expert advice, over the next few months, either commercially or as a part of their own Social Responsibility.
The time to act is now. Vaccination saves lives! Since the past 100 years, vaccination has proved itself to be one of the most effective direct weapons in Primary Prevention. Don’t Hesitate, Vaccinate!
If you are interested in knowing more about a structured and focused corporate campaign to address these issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.