At a webinar organized by ASSOCHAM Southern region doctors on the panel busted myths on COVID-19, and vaccination, and reiterated the key preventive behaviors to fight COVID-19. Cancer and a reduction in footfalls in its treatment was also highlighted.
ASSOCHAM has been supportive of the Central and State governments efforts to encourage prevention behaviors through various Risk Communication and Community Engagement Interventions like the webinar.
A hands-on pan-India distinguished panel of doctors: Bangalore, Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, and New Delhi – drove home the oft-repeated dos and don’ts of curbing the virus that has caused physical and emotional upheaval in our lives. Among them are vaccination, wearing the mask above your nose and below the chin, coughing / sneezing into a handkerchief or elbow, sanitizing or washing of hands, and physical distancing.
There was a special video message on the importance of vaccination from Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation. The doctors on the panel were Dr. C.S. Rajan, Senior Consultant Surgeon, Bangalore, Dr. Mathew Varghese, Orthopedic Surgeon, St Stephen’s Hospital, New Delhi, Dr (Gp Capt.) Deepak Rautray, VSM (Retd), Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Sparsh Hospitals, Bhubaneswar, Dr. Kunal Sarkar, Senior Vice Chairman and Chief Cardiac Surgeon of Medica Hospitals Pvt Ltd, Kolkata and Chairman – Kolkata Heart Foundation (KHF) and Dr. Swaroop Hegde, Consultant Physical, and Critical Care Specialist of SRV Hospital, the first COVID-dedicated hospital in Mumbai. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Marianne De Nazareth, Environmental & Science Journalist.
Speaking on this occasion, Abhishek Ranjan, Director – Brillio and Chairman of the ASSOCHAM Southern CSR committee, said that vaccination would save us from a large-scale infection rate, and ASSOCHAM will do a vaccination campaign across southern states to educate people on immunization.
Ms. Matilda Yorke, Consultant, The Bridging Gap & Committee & Member, ASSOCHAM CSR Committee said, “The webinar was very insightful in this confusing world of COVID-19. The doctors were able to throw more light on their experiences in treating the illness, with a pragmatic view of the pandemic.”
Here are a few nuggets from each of our panelists.
Dr. Rajan shared his experience of the life-threatening situation that he went through in April. Thought he was very careful in the first wave, he recalled that he may have dropped his guard, after both doses of his vaccination, and went back to operating, when he might have caught the virus.
He shared the fears that crowded his mind when he was in the hospital, and memories of family and loved ones that gave him the strength to recover. He urged all those attending the webinar to continue following social distancing and wearing of masks and especially adopt a positive attitude even if they get affected by the virus.
Dr. Rautray felt that COVID has taken a toll on cancer patients and their treatment, causing a reduction in foot falls for cancer treatments and surgeries by 20-50% compared to 2019. He addressed the recent buzz around the black fungus which can be caused by apparatus, water in the oxygen, high use of steroids. He said that the trials for vaccinations for children are underway. Children must be made aware of the dos and don’ts of tackling the corona virus.
Dr. Varghese said that disease came closer home when people he knew contracted it. He realized the emotional trauma that the patients go through. He emphasized on personal hygiene, the proper wearing of the mask that must cover the nose and chin, sanitization on a regular basis using the good old soap and water / alcohol-based sanitizers , covid vaccination and its benefits, He advised the audience not to touch their faces, which we are habituated to doing at least 20 times a day.
Dr. Sarkar’s shared encounter with the “ghastly bit of mass of RNA”. His book, Sickness of Health, will soon be published, talks about fighting against the second wave and has a lot of learnings from COVID. Since hospitals are running at 110 per cent capacity, it is difficult for a doctor to handle grief counselling, especially with family members, or even a humane way of handling the family when the patient is serious. He highlighted the detailed report by Nicholas Wade about the origin of COVID origin and related theories.
Dr. Hegde advised not to rush to the hospital if you have symptoms – for example loss of sense of smell is not an emergency. See or call your physician and undergo treatment at home. If saturation drops to 91 or 92, consult the doctor and then go to the hospital. The 6-minute walk with the oximeter on your finger is the best way to know when to consult the doc. The vaccine will build immunity and fight the infection.
Some MYTHS ABOUT VACCINATION
You will die two years after taking the vaccine – vaccine gives you the additional strength to fight covid. Risks of taking the vaccine is lower than that of the risk of getting the disease.
COVID-19 can affect a woman’s fertility – Most of these statements are extrapolated from vaccine studies on virus of yesteryears, and there is no data on the ongoing trials that the vaccine will affect the fertility of a male or female.
I don’t need the vaccine if I have also had COVID-19 — we don’t know how much the immunity lasts unlike the flu virus.
Researchers have rushed the development of the vaccine so its effective and safety cannot be trusted – it’s taken a long time for other vaccines to be developed, Regulatory processes takes long. Times are desperate, and we have had to zipped it and compressed it.
After vaccination, I can stop wearing mask and do not take precautions – all protocol measures must be taken as you may be putting others at risk. The vaccine does not stop you from getting the COVID-19.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WEBINAR
1. Don’t believe in myths
2. Rely on a doctor for the best advice
3. Continue with all the protocols even if you are vaccinated
4. Vaccination is as safe as can be
5. Don’t underestimate covid 19 – your condition can deteriorate quickly
6. It causes a significant psychological impact. One must stay strong.
7. Don’t touch MEN – Mouth Eyes Nose
8. Follow WOMEN — Wash your hands, Obey social distancing, Mask up, Exercise and eat well and No unnecessary crowding.