Kashmir's leading Pulmonologist and head of the Chest Diseases Hospital, Dr. Naveed Nazir Shah told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday in 'Mann Ki Baat' programme that adherence to COVID protocols is the only way out for the nation to survive the second phase of the pandemic.
Interacting with Modi during 'Mann Ki Baat' programme, Dr. Shah told the PM that earlier people afflicted with the virus were frightened during the first wave, but now there was enough awareness among medical practitioners as well as patients.
"There is a lot of literature and research available to fight the disease now," he told Modi during the telephonic conversation.
Dr Shah said: "If we adhere to protective measures such as wearing masks, using hand sanitizers and also maintain physical distancing by avoiding social gatherings, we can overcome the pandemic and carry on our daily work".
When the PM sought to know about people's response to vaccines, Dr Shah said though there were a lot of misconceptions and myths around the vaccine initially, now people were coming forward for the jab. "Close to 15 lakh residents of Jammu and Kashmir have been inoculated and more are keen to take it," he said.
Strongly vouching for the efficacy of COVID vaccine, Dr Shah informed the Prime Minister that all such fears and misconceptions were baseless, as the efficacy of vaccines, made in India, has been found over 60 per cent by the companies producing them.
The PM also asked him to share his views about various queries by people regarding corona vaccine such as how protective were the vaccines and how secure one can feel after vaccination. Dr Shah said: "We have two ways to fight and prevent this pandemic; first is strict adherence to all preventive SOPs and other is vaccination."
About vaccination, he further added: "There were normal effects observed of this vaccination which can be associated with any other vaccination like fever, pain at the site of vaccination, etc. but none severe or adverse side effect has been reported in the UT yet."
"Also, there was another apprehension among the people that few persons were found positive even after vaccination, in this regard companies themselves have said in their guidelines that people can get infected even after vaccination but the severity of the disease will not be much, meaning such persons may be positive but their infection will not be life threatening. Hence we must remove all misconceptions about vaccines," he said.
As from May 1 in the entire country a vaccination drive will begin for those above 18 years of age, Dr Shah appealed to the people to get themselves vaccinated for their protection as well as protection of "our society and community".
Dr Shah said that at the start of pandemic the 'City Hospital' of Srinagar was the first hospital to be designated as Covid hospital which comes under medical college. "There was an atmosphere of fear not only among people who used to think Covid infection as virtual death sentence but also among the doctors and paramedics of our hospital. They had apprehension that they too might get infected while treating patients."
Dr. Shah is the head of department at Srinagar's chest diseases hospital which is the only major healthcare facility for people with lung ailments.
He has not only been in the frontline of fighting the pandemic by attending to scores of Covid patients on a daily basis, but he is also a COVID19 infection survivor.
Dr Shah caught the infection last year while treating Covid patients at the hospital. He has the unique experience of having been a COVID patient and a top ranking pulmonologist.