Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra ModiIANS (File photo)

Modi urges everyone to take COVID vaccine, says current wave of pandemic has shaken the country

New Delhi, April 25, 2021

Stressing the importance of vaccination in fighting COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today exhorted the people to listen to expert and scientific advice on containing the spread of the coronavirus, noting that the current wave of the pandemic had shaken the country.

"After successfully confronting the first wave of coronavirus, the country was full of enthusiasm, full of self-confidence, but this storm has shaken the country," Modi said in Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio address to the nation over public broadcaster All India Radio.

In the past few days, to tide over this crisis, he said he had long deliberations with experts from myriad sectors including the pharmaceuticals industry, vaccine manufacturers, those connected with oxygen production and experts from the medical field who have given their valuable suggestions.

“This time, for emerging victorious in this battle, we have to accord priority to expert and scientific advice. The Government is applying its entire might to give a fillip to the endeavours of State Governments. The State Governments are also trying their best to fulfil their responsibilities,” he added.

The Prime Minister invited the Mumbai-based Dr Shashank Joshi, former Dean of the Indian College of Physicians with grassroots level experience in coronavirus treatment and research to give his views on various aspects of the disease. He asked him about the second wave of the pandemic, how different it was medically and about the precautions needed.

Dr Joshi said this virus was faster-moving than the first wave. But the good thing is that the recovery rate is higher and the mortality rate pretty low. “There are 2 – 3 differences here. The first is – to an extent, it has been observed in youth and children, too. The symptoms…like the earlier one…breathlessness, dry cough, fever…all these are there…along with it, loss of smell and taste.

“The people are a bit scared. There is no need of being scared. Almost 80 to 90% of people do not show any of these symptoms. There is also no need to be afraid of mutations as these keep on happening…the way we change our clothes, the virus keeps changing its colours…hence there is nothing to fear and we shall overcome this wave too. COVID has a 14 to 21 day’s timetable, in which we should avail of the doctor’s advice," he said.

About the treatment, he said people should not start clinical treatment very late…in the belief that the illness will subside on its own believing what they keep watching on their mobile feeds.

“If they abide by information provided by the government, they will not face these difficulties. In COVID, the clinical treatment protocol has a magnitude of three types – light or mild COVID, medium or moderate COVID and intense, which is called severe COVID. In the case of mild COVID, we do oxygen monitoring, pulse monitoring and fever monitoring. If the fever rises, sometimes we use medicines like paracetamol…and one should consult a doctor.

“In the case of moderate or severe versions, it is extremely important to contact the doctor. Inexpensive medicines are available. Steroids can save life…inhalers can be given, tablets can be given. And along with that, oxygen has to be administered…there are many simple treatments available.

“But often what is happening is that there is a new experimental medicine called Remdesivir. One thing about this medicine is that one has to stay 2 – 3 days lesser in the hospital and it aids in clinical recovery. This medicine works only when it is taken in the first 9-10 days and it is to be taken only for five days.

“The way people are running after Remdesivir…they should stop doing that. This medicine has a limited role…it should be taken only when the patient is put on oxygen in a hospital, strictly as per the doctor’s advice. If we do Pranayam, our lungs will expand a bit,” he said.

“There is an injection available for thinning blood called Heparin. If these simple medicines are given, 98% of people recover. So, staying positive is very important. Treatment protocol must be as per the doctor’s advice. There is no need to run after all these expensive medications.

“We have excellent treatments, we have oxygen, we have ventilator facilities…we have everything. Whenever this medicine is available, it should be given only to appropriate people. On this, many myths are doing the rounds. I want to clarify that we have the world’s best treatment available. You will see that India has the best recovery rate. If you compare Europe and America, our patients are recovering through our treatment protocols,” he added.

The Prime Minister urged his listeners to get authentic information by consulting the family doctor or those in the neighbourhood on the phone. Several doctors are providing information through social media. They are counselling on the phone and WhatsApp. Many hospitals have websites where information is available. This is commendable, he said.

The Prime Minister talked to Dr Naveed Nazeer Shah, a professor at Government Medical College in Srinagar. Asked about panic management, Dr Shah said during the first wave, his hospital, which comes under a medical college was designated as COVID hospital. Initially, even the medical staff members were apprehensive about extending treatment to the patients without themselves contracting the virus.

“But as time passed, we observed that if we wear protective gear fully and abide by the precautions collectively, we too can stay safe. We saw that close to 90-95% of the patients recovered without much medication. There is no need to panic this time around, too. If we adhere to the protective measures, the SOPs such as wearing masks, using hand sanitisers, maintain physical distance and avoid social gathering, we can carry on with our daily work and keep ourselves protected from this infection,” he added.

About the anti-COVID vaccination, he said, at present, India has two vaccines available, Covaccine and Covishield which have been made in the country. Other companies too who have done their trials have found that its efficacy is more than 60%. If we talk of Jammu and Kashmir, till now, 15 to 16 lakh people have taken the vaccine.

“Yes, quite a few misconceptions or myths about this have come up on social media enumerating the side effects … till now, in our place, no side effects have been found in vaccines that have been administered. Only things that are routinely associated with every vaccine – someone getting a fever, ache in the entire body or getting pain locally where the injection is applied- we have seen such side effects in all patients. We have not seen any gross adverse effect.

“People had the apprehension that after vaccination, some got positive. In this, companies themselves have given guidelines that if someone is vaccinated, they may have an infection, they can get positive. But the severity of the disease will not be so much, that is, they may get positive but the disease would not be fatal. So, we should remove from our mind such misconception about the vaccine.

“From May 1, vaccine administration will be extended for all those above 18 years in the entire country. We appeal to the people to come and get vaccinated and protect yourselves as well as the society from COVID 19 infection,” he added.

Modi said people should not get swayed by any rumours about the vaccine. “You all must be knowing that people above 45 years of age can benefit from the free vaccine that has been sent to all state governments by the Centre. Now, from May 1 onwards, the vaccine will be made available for every person above 18 years. The corporate sector companies too will be able to participate in the programme of administering the vaccine to their employees. I also want to say that the programme of free vaccine by the Union Government will continue. I appeal also to the states to extend the benefit of this free vaccine campaign to the maximum number of the people,” he added.

The Prime Minister also talked to Bhavna Dhruv, a staff nurse at B R Ambedkar Medical College in Raipur. On taking care of COVID patients, she said that, during the past year, she had worked everywhere, 14 days duty in the wards, in ICU, in Isolation. All the while, she also counselled the patients and removed their apprehensions about the treatment.

Surekha, Senior Nursing Officer in K. C. General Hospital, Bengaluru, said early testing and proper tracking would help reduce the mortality rate. “If you find any symptoms isolate yourself and consult nearby doctors and get treated as early as possible. The community need to be aware of this disease and be positive, don’t panic or be stressed out.,” she added.

The Prime Minister also had an interaction with Prem Verma, CATS ambulance driver. About his work, Verma said as Control gives a call on the tab they head towards the patient. He has been on the job for the past two years. “We wear our kit, gloves & mask, reach the patient and wherever they ask us to drop, in whichever hospital, as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister talked to Preeti Chaturvedi of Gurugram who recently recovered from the disease. She said in the initial stages, she was extremely lethargic and there was a slight soreness of the throat.

“I felt that these were symptoms and so I got myself tested. On the second day, as soon as the report came in and I was diagnosed positive, I quarantined myself. I isolated myself in a room and consulted with doctors. I started the prescribed medication.

Quick action on her part saved the other members of the family from getting infected. “They got tested later and everyone else was negative. Along with medication, I started Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. I started taking Kadha decoction to boost my immunity. I went on a protein-rich diet. I took a lot of fluid, gargled, inhaled steam and took hot water. I incorporated all of this as part of my daily routine.

"The most important thing is that one should not get worried at all. One has to remain mentally strong and, for me, yoga and breathing exercise helped and I felt better doing them,” she added.


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