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Sudhir Bhandari, principal and controller at the SMS Medical College, Jaipur, who had headed a medical team to develop a combination of antiviral and antibiotic drugs to cure Covid patients initially when the virus had broken out in the country, spoke to IANS before the much-awaited vaccine roll-out, saying that vaccination shall bring in herd immunity and help the nation become Corona-free soon.
Being a member of the state advisory board of the government for Covid-19 and head of the core treatment group of the government for the pandemic, he cleared the air on the interaction between alcohol and Covid vaccine, virus mutation, any after-effects of the vaccine, and many more such issues, saying that excessive alcohol can reduce the immune response to the vaccines. Here are some excerpts from the exclusive interview:
Q. When is the Covid-19 vaccine likely to be available and who shall get it first?
A: The government will probably get it in the current month itself, while it is likely to be available in the private market by March. The vaccine will be prioritized. The frontline workers and first responders like paramedical staff, civil servants, police and army personnel, and politicians will get it first. People aged more than 50 years and those with comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, transplant and chemotherapy patients will get it next. They will be followed by healthy adults, teenagers, children, and lastly the neonates, if at all.
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Q: What is the interaction between alcohol and Covid vaccine?
A: Excessive alcohol intake can reduce the immune responses to the vaccine. Since Russians are known for heavy drinking, their government has advised them to avoid drinking for two weeks prior to the first dose and six weeks after the second dose. The Sputnik vaccine is given in two doses 21 days apart. The occasional glass of wine or beer will not interfere with the immune response.
Q: Soon the virus will mutate and we will need another vaccine. Should we not wait?
A: Till now, the virus has not shown a tendency to mutate like the Flu virus. Moreover, the vaccines being developed have taken this into consideration and should still work.
Q: Do you need to take it even if you had Corona?
A: Yes. But that will be last on the priority list. You can let others take who probably need more than you. You might need it earlier if you did not develop an antibody response.
Q: Can it be administered to an individual who received plasma treatment?
A: The donor plasma contains anti-Covid-19 antibodies and may suppress the immune response to the vaccine. As it is, those who have recovered from Covid-19 may not need the vaccine in the early phases.
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Q: Can a pregnant lady or a lactating mother or a diabetic patient take the vaccine?
A: No company has yet tested the vaccine in pregnancy. The CDC has advised against giving the vaccine to pregnant women and lactating mothers. UK authorities have advised women not to get pregnant for two months after the shot. Since the vaccines available till now are not live vaccines, it should not cause any problem if given inadvertently.
Yes, in fact, diabetes has been established as a risk factor for severe disease and all diabetic patients must get vaccinated on priority.
Q: If offered a choice of vaccines, which one should I take?
A: All vaccines are offering equal efficacy, although local reactions may differ. Take whatever is available. Think positive that at least you are being offered a vaccine ahead of others. Indian manufactured vaccines will be more suitable for our population as they are cheaper and can be kept at 2-8 degrees Celsius. The mRNA vaccines require a storing temp of -70 (Pfizer) and -20 (Moderna) degrees Celsius, which may be difficult to maintain in summer months.
Q: How many days after getting a vaccine would I develop protection?
A: The best protection starts 10 days after the second dose. Efficacy is around 70-90 percent against all severity and 100 percent against hospitalization. The immediate aim is to prevent hospitalization and mortality.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: पंत की फिटनेस और कमजोर स्किल्स चिंता का विष्य : प्रसाद
Q: How long will the vaccine provide immunity?
A: It is a new virus, and new technology vaccine, so we don’t know. After follow-ups of the vaccinated population and their antibodies for a couple of years, we would be wiser. The need for boosters and when they will be required will be decided after these follow-ups and mathematical modeling.
Q: Children of what age can be vaccinated? Is the dose for them the same as adults or a lesser dose will be administered?
A: Trials done till now have been for adults above 18 only. Now trials for children above 12 have started. Doses will be decided only after trials are done on younger children and infants.
Q: Can it be given to immunocompromised individuals?
A: The mRNA vaccine and inactivated vaccines are safe. AstraZeneca and Sputnik-V adenovirus vector vaccines are also safe as they are non replicating viral vector vaccines. Live vaccines and replicating viral vector vaccines will have to be avoided.
Q: What are the side-effects expected?
A: The side-effects reported by the trial population are mostly mild Covid like symptoms like fever and fatigue. Local injection site pain and induration have also been reported. Reports of transverse myelitis and facial palsy have not been found to be related to the vaccine. Generally, all vaccines are safe. Although these vaccines have been made in record time, the testing methodology and procedures have not been compromised.
Q: In the past, vaccines have been linked to autism. What about the ones we have now?
A: In 1985, there was a paper linking MMR with autism. After that, it has been conclusively proven that there is no relationship between vaccines and autism. All vaccines are extremely safe with minimal, temporary side-effects.
Q: What if I do not want to take the vaccine? Will it be made mandatory?
A: In the majority of the countries, it will not be mandatory. You have to choose between the new viral disease with no specific treatment and a new vaccine. The choice is yours. As initially there will be a huge demand-supply gap, by not taking a vaccine you can help others.
Q: If I fall on the priority list by being a senior citizen or with a comorbid condition, how do I contact the appropriate vaccination authority?
A: Soon there will be a website and an app, ‘CoWIN’, where you will be able to register with your relevant details. It is the world’s first digital, end-to-end vaccine distribution and management system. (IANS)
Atop the Vindhyagiri hills in Karnataka, a 57-foot-tall statue stands. This is the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, or Bahubali, as he is known to the local patrons. The surrounding area is filled with temples where each of the many Jain Tirthankaras sits.
Sharavanabelagola is named after a pond that is located at the foothills. 'Bel' in Kannada means white, and 'kola' means pond. This is a sacred water body to the activities of the temples. It is a tourist attraction and a pilgrim destination located 85 kilometres from Mysore, and 145 kilometres from the capital, Bangalore.
The pond that Sharavanabelagola is named after Image source: wikimedia commons
Since the statue is placed at such a great height, pilgrims are made to make a journey to the top of the hill by foot. They are required to climb the stone steps barefoot as an act of piety and devotion. Palanquins are offered only to senior citizens who wish to worship at the temple.
In 3 B.C, when India was ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya became a Jain monk and took up residence in the Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri hills. He is supposedly responsible for the establishment of the temple complex at Shravanabelagola, where he lived till he died. Later on, his grandson, Ashoka made some additional changes to the place.
A shop in the tourist section that sells handmade items Image source: wikimedia commons
Every twelve years, a Mahamastabhisheka is conducted, and Jains from every part congregate to witness it. The statue is washed with water, rice flour, sugarcane juice, saffrom, sandalwood paste, gold, and silver flowers, curd, ghee, milk, and turmeric, and all the monks offer special prayers. The surrounding temples and rocks are preserved as archaeological wonders owing to the 800 edicts and inscriptions found here which span 600 to 1830.
Keywords: Shravanabelagola, Jainism, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Karnataka
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle