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COVID third wave is apparently here. New lockdown instructions have been issued by the government. The people are still ambivalent about lockdown. ‘To do or not to do’ is the present theme. Businesses have their own compulsions of losing business once again, while general public is unwilling to lose their freedom again. Let us see how this lockdown works.
COVID Vaccines are still a hot topic though it has lost some of its steam. EU is battling with delayed supplies and India is offering to supply to the whole world. US stands aloof with its quota of vaccine guaranteed.
Pfizer-Biontech was the first to get approval. Moderna came in second while Astra Zeneca-Oxford was the third one. Janssen came later but with the advantage of single shot.
Around the same time when first vaccine was launched, China also developed vaccine and two manufacturers started applying in Asia and Middle East, where they got approval quickly. Russia also had its vaccine developed but it did not get much appeal outside yet.
We, Pakistanis, love to raise and feed controversies about many things. Vaccines have been included in the list since long with the polio vaccine. Many citizens are still convinced that polio vaccine will cause such effects which are totally unacceptable.
COVID vaccine has raised concerns around the world. There are several conspiracy theories promoted by theorists in the US and Europe. These are about injecting nano-chips through vaccine and then control the entire population and make a model like ‘Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent trilogy’. There are several other books and movies on similar themes. Many people are fully convinced that the entire COVID thing is a planned disaster to get control of the world. Of course, we have no way to know the truth from theories. We therefore rest the case as it is.
On Saturday 13th March, my son called me in the afternoon and told me about COVID vaccine being administered at Expo Center. We are talking about Lahore where we live, and Expo center is actually quite near to my workplace. I sent a message again to 1166 and the reply came back that I had been registered and would be informed about the date later. Few minutes later, I got a WhatsApp from an acquaintance saying that over 60 years can just walk in and get vaccinated at Expo Center.
I left the office at 5.00pm and reached Expo Center fifteen minutes later. There was a small crowd of over-sixty men, women and couples. Expo Center has a huge parking where I got a parking easily. An electric car provided shuttle service from parking lot to vaccination hall. Inside, there was a line of counters for getting registered. I did not count but there must be twenty such counters. I reached a free counter two minutes after getting inside the hall. The guy asked me if I had received the registration code; I told him no. He said it was ok and asked for my CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card), which I gave to him. He filled up a form with the information from the CNIC in five minutes asked me to take the form and go inside.
Further inside, there were several tables/chairs for administering vaccine. A support staff looked at my form and told me to sit at any vacant table or wait for my turn. I walked around and found an empty table. The person sitting there welcomed me, took the form and asked me to bare my arm till the shoulder, which I did. The person injected the vaccine, made an entry in the form, tore a portion for himself and gave the other portion to me. He told me to take rest for fifteen minutes in the rest area so that if any untoward effect appeared, it would be handled. I sat for a while, then walked around the rest area and found that I was fine. I left the hall, came to parking, took the car and drove home.
The entire activity of getting vaccinated took about 30 minutes. And that I did not have to pay anything, not even the parking fee. This is probably the best one could expect.
I would like to highlight that the entire arrangement was highly organized, compliments to the administration. There was plenty of staff there, men and women both. They were polite and courteous and did not rush anyone.
Vaccine conspiracy theories aside, it is worth going there and getting vaccinated. The facility at present is open to over 60 years only. I repeat it is completely free and the arrangements are excellent. Remember, this is the first shot, the second will be after 21 days. I wish you all the best.
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