No scope for vaccine hesitancy
With the fresh surge in Covid-19 cases, Jammu and Kashmir, particularly Kashmir division too has been recording highest number of infections and infection related deaths. Srinagar, being the capital city and commercial hub, has been leading in positive cases followed by Baramulla district. The situation in other Valley districts too is nowhere near normal as these districts also keep adding to the tally. As mentioned earlier, peoples’ response to first “Covid Curfew”, announced during the second wave of the spread of virus, was satisfactory as they cooperated understanding that severity of the situation. They proved it beyond any doubt that they understand the gravity of the situation and would be more than cooperative if the government takes any further step to break the deadly curve of the virus.
While appreciating the peoples’ responsible response, one would now expect them to gear up for the vaccination drive. The governments, all over India, have decided to launch massive vaccination drive for all the citizens above 18 years and Jammu and Kashmir government too is following the suit. As a big relief to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the Lt Governor administration has decided that Covid-19 vaccination will be administered free of cost for people aged between 18-45 years as the cost will be borne fully by the J&K government. While controversies all over the country have erupted over the pricing of the vaccines, there is no such issue facing Jammu and Kashmir following administrations decision.
Vaccination is the only tool at the moment that has the potential to break the curve of the deadly Covid-19 surge and save the lives of people. Therefore people in Kashmir need to shun vaccine hesitancy and come forward to take the jab. For that the registration for all the citizens between the age group of 18-45 will begin on April 28 (Wenesday). The government has made registered on the CoWIN web portal mandatory for taking an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine jab as walk-ins will not be allowed initially. However, those above 45 years can still avail the facility of on-site registration to get vaccinated. It is therefore necessary that as the registration for the jab opens, people in Kashmir start registering forthwith.
It is heartening to note that religious scholars and leaders in Kashmir have been on the forefront to educate the people about Covid protocols and also the vaccination. Renowned Islamic scholar and jurist Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasmi on Monday said that the vaccination against Covid-19 is compulsory and that all the people of Kashmir must take a jab — sooner the better. He appealed people not to heed to the rumours, shun vaccine hesitancy and get themselves vaccinated for their own safety and the safety of others. Dismissing the debate launched by some elements that whether the vaccine if halal or not, the religious scholar said that it is ‘halal’ (permissible) for the Muslims and urged all the people of Kashmir to take the jab in order to prevent further spread of the virus. In the wake of the holy month of Ramzan, he made it very clear that taking a vaccine jab won’t break fast. He stressed that people should obey strictly every direction and advice of the administration and the medical professionals. Earlier, Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam too had made same kind of appeal to the Kashmiri Muslims encouraging them to get vaccinated and emphasizing that vaccination doesn’t impact the fast that Muslims keep during Ramzan days. The stand taken by the religious scholars is appreciable and should be hailed by one and all. In the times of crisis, people look towards religious leaders for guidance and thankfully Muslim religious leaders in Kashmir have conveyed in no-nonsense terms that they believe in reason and logic and are not at war with science.