After BC and AD, January 16, 2021, perhaps marks the new age PC (Post Covid) era. As over three lakh healthcare workers and frontline warriors got inoculated on Saturday in the first round, let us make no mistake this is perhaps as momentous an occasion as any in the field of modern medicine and perhaps our lives. When the legendary Late Dr Christian Bernard successfully undertook the first heart transplant, it revolutionized modern medicine like no other. But this is perhaps even bigger in the scope and context of the number of lives it is going to touch.
Ultimately, this fight is going to touch 7 billion lives. Across 7 continents, 200 countries and thousands of languages, Covid has affected the life of each and every individual and so the fight is going to be to the last man standing.
Credit, therefore, must be given to each and every scientist and healthcare worker involved. Covid afflicted more people than all the world wars combined, and without the efforts of all soldiers involved, it would have been lost long back. Credit in no small measure is also hugely due to the authorities facilitating this fight. Covid has been an extraordinary crisis that no government could have imagined and so could not have planned for. Given the circumstances, the financial, mental and sheer human impact of the crisis, and so the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, has also been crucial in these unprecedented times.
It is no mean feat to achieve a credible, safe and effective vaccine in such record times with such large doses. This vaccine will not only enable us to lead normal lives once again but will also enable India to take her rightful centrestage in the world. For those of us long accustomed to western miracles and advances in medicine, our scientists have achieved nothing short of the extraordinary and will enable Modi to further India's policy of “Sarve Santu Niramyah”.
This is especially credible given our propensity to indulge in skepticism and politics over every single issue. If producing a vaccine was a herculean task of unimaginable proportions, convincing a population battered by petty political statements has been an even bigger task. It is perhaps a testament to the leadership of the PM and people`s belief in him which has allowed the government to overcome hurdles and culminated in the smooth rollout.
The light at the end of the tunnel is visible now and life as we knew it might perhaps return in the near future. But the memories of this war shall remain forever and of those who fought it with their all. In a deeply divided, polarized, competitive world, even though people were under lockdown, humanity for a brief period became one. Those who had been forgotten in the neverending hustle and bustle were remembered, the simple pleasures of life, of nature became visible once more. And may we never forget to give them the space and the importance they deserve.
(The writer is a consultant radiologist and former senior resident, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. Views are personal.)