Nothing must interfere towards being a pandemic-free nation
Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Opinion - New Straits Times
August 23, 2021
THE new political reality called into question whether we, as a community, really understand what the landscape of the pandemic is all about.
This is so when infection cases hit over 20,000 mark for some consecutive days. Very clearly the end game seems to be more about power-shuffling instead of power-sharing.
The former opens itself up to the vengeance of the deadly virus as time, resources and wisdom (if any) is squandered away through political squabbling at the expanse of building cohesive protective frontiers against the accelerated virus transmission.
In contrast, the invisible 'enemies' waste no time in churning out different variants to enable it to hedge the effect of the various vaccines manufactured in quick time.
The Delta version for example seems adept to press for some novel strategies in defenses against the vaccines notably in countries where vaccination are said to be among the highest. So much so, the achievements of a desired herd immunity are placed under uncertainty.
Meaning to say that the grand plan to save the world through vaccinations will remain unfulfilled as long as the fast spreading highly infectious Delta variant is allowed to rule.
Conventionally, herd immunity is achieved when majority of people in a population are immune to a virus or disease, through vaccination or natural infection causing a reduction in the transmission rate.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the case as the Delta variants is fast plaguing the world at large.
Instead it cracks open the pandora box where children are rendered more vulnerable as compared to that of the initial Covid-19, known to be less transmissible to the younger age group.
As most of them are unvaccinated as a matter of principle, their health are now openly threatened with numbers reportedly are on the rise. Add to this is the higher transmissible rate, the scenario is concerning globally.
Talks are already in the pipeline as to a mandatory additional vaccination to act as "booster" in allaying some of the emerging concerns. This also means more cost, more complex logistic and an even greater disparity the world over.
As it stands, the warning is getting louder: unless the vaccine supplies reach poorer countries, the tragic scenes unfolding in many deprived communities will risk more millions to die. Supplies are said to be growing, according to some sources, but the wider systematic distribution worldwide is problematic.
In South-East Asia alone, home to over 650 million people, the situation is particularly vulnerable, let alone the entire Asian region where 60 percent of the world's population is.
As long as the situation is not put right, the virus is said to have an upper hand as evidently so. In other words, it is futile to consider a booster vaccination if the initial full vaccination is still faltering including in some sections of the most developed economics.
It could only be worse off in many more developing countries and communities that are yet to be vaccinated in a significant way bearing in mind that vaccines do prove beneficial up until now.
In other words, there ought to be solidarity in the attempt to seriously "defeat" the virus at all fronts not just limited to health.
Now that we have a new government to carry on with the encounter against the pandemic, will there be a strategic change to put the people before self-interest, health before politics, and lives before whatever else?
This is something that must be launched without hesitation clearly rooted in ethics and moral values. The sanctity of life must be placed above petty politics and group think! The need of the moment in this context is no less than that of trust, justice and fairness.
These ethical values are imperative and relevant not only in modern health care and practices, but form the
very basis of quality living since time immemorial.
Their absence are bound to jeopardise the delivery and outcomes of responsible healthcare activities or programmes; rendering them life-threatening if not fatal.
In other words, it goes against the very purpose of providing the best option available to treat, heal and care. Politics sans ethics must, therefore, not be allowed to interfere.