Behave as responsible citizens in new normalcy -Epidemiologist | Sunday Observer
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Behave as responsible citizens in new normalcy -Epidemiologist

24 October, 2021

While the Covid -19 pandemic has caused severe social, economic and health impacts on Sri Lankans including children, the Epidemiology Unit has coped remarkably well in meeting its targeted coverage in vaccination..

Asked by the Sunday Observer on how this had been possible despite of people undergoing lock down and quarantine periods from time to time Consultant Epidemiologist of the Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health , Dr Deepa Gamage while admitting they faced many challenges with a little above 530,000 people affected with Covid-19 and the number of deaths almost exceeding 13,500 deaths by now, said , “ In spite of these obstacles, vaccination has been scaled up at almost all districts within 8-9 months. This has enabled us to meet the high demand for vaccination and achieve high vaccination coverage in almost all districts.”

Commenting on the progress made in vaccination of young people above 20years , she noted that, “We have achieved almost 100% coverage for this target group with completed 2nd dose around 87% to date. Vaccination of At Risk Children suffering from comorbid conditions have also started with a satisfactory response throughout the country, as well as the school vaccination program for children above 18 year age group, with scaling up plans to include 16 years.”

Responding to a query by MediSnips as to whether being fully vaccinated would protect a person from being vulnerable to the transmission of the virus , she added, “It is a social responsibility to get vaccinated at the earliest and protect oneself while preventing transmission. However, even though you have received full vaccination with both scheduled doses of the vaccines, virus transmission is a possibility., she added. However, though the virus can transmit from one person to the other in the case of a fully vaccinated person it will not cause severe symptoms .due to the protective immunity he or she gets after vaccination,” she added, noting that if a non vaccinated high risk person is exposed, there is a possibility to get severe disease, complications and even death can result.”

We asked about the importance of using protective gear including wearing face masks. Her reply was, “Wearing face masks properly covering the nose and mouth all the time when communicating with others and in public places is very important and essential.

It will not only protect you but a responsibility to protect others. In case, if you infected with the virus, all the family and close contacts in the work places and people in places where you have traveled, needs to be quarantined even though they are also vaccinated. It is not fair to put other people’s lives at risk because of one’s irresponsible behaviour.”, she said.

On how the virus can spread, she said, “”The SARS Cov2 virus for Covid-19, transmits from person to person through direct flashing of droplets to nose and mouth from an infected person. It can also get into the nose and mouth through unclean hands or surfaces contaminated by secretions of an infected person. Keeping a distance between people, frequent hand washing practices and maintaining clean surfaces at all times are very important. These practices should be adhered irrespective of the vaccination status and irrespective of the Covid-19 disease outbreak situation in the country, ”.

Urging people to refrain to limiting outings and interaction with others, she warned family members and relatives with underlying comorbid conditions such as heart problems, lung problems, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, cancers, immune suppression are more prone to get the severe form of the disease leading to death. “Elderly population, and pregnancy are also identified as risk categories and requires special protection from Covid-19”, she added.