22 June, 2021

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Where Is The Second Dose?

By Ravi Perera

Ravi Perera

The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like an incubus upon the brain of the living”- Karl Marx

I have not found a single good man in government; I have found good only in the people” – Saint-Just

An old friend of mine, having served the State faithfully all his working life, upon retirement decided on a reunion with his children now domiciled in the United Kingdom. He looked forward to a long holiday, away from the intrusions, trespasses and stresses that beset those living in an unsettled society, a society said to be in transition. An avid reader, the libraries, bookshops, magazines and the newspapers of London beckoned irresistibly. He especially loved their newspapers, “intelligent, elegant writing on nearly every subject, amazing for the writers to have such a sure grip of their subject” is how he described the coverage in print.

A few weeks into his holiday, the Corona epidemic broke out, the lockdown rules confined him to the house, no longer free to roam the streets of London. The rules were strict, but imposed reasonable. Basic economic activities were sustained, those industries that were adversely affected received generous concessions. My friend, although confined to the house, could walk to the neighbourhood supermarkets for the provisions, and even do a stroll at the nearby park, which struck him as particularly beautiful in spring time. 

The early weeks were traumatic, UK experienced an alarming spike in casualties, even Prime Minister Boris Johnson falling victim to the pandemic. Before long however, the famous British good sense and rationality came to the fore, the system worked out effective methods of containing the spread of the virus, bringing down the infected numbers drastically. My friend, despite the status of a visiting foreigner, had the advantage of a routine PCR test, followed by the inoculation injection, twice, as a booster was prescribed. He was periodically monitored and kept informed of the necessary steps to be taken. There were volunteers visiting them, offering assistance if needed.

He is all praise for the doctors and other medical staff he encountered. “The operative word for the health workers is kindness; the way they speak, the way they administer the medicine, the after care, were so comforting. You don’t come across that off-handed, superior attitude very common in our professionals.”

“My PCR test was done with such skill that I did not feel anything. Sometimes, they even let you self-administer the test. My friends in Sri Lanka say that many patients had complained that the test there is very rough, many end up bleeding from the nose. Our frontline health workers are paranoid; they do not come anywhere near unless they are in that space suit like gear. Here in the UK, the medical teams wear only their face masks.”

“I realized that Western medicine in the Western setting is quite a different thing, there is harmony between the culture and the profession; it is a calling after all; the medical profession has no meaning without personal courage, dedication and selflessness”

There is no country that has escaped the choking grip of the Covid-19 virus, some more painfully than others. No person on this planet is completely free of the dread it brings. We have faced other contagions before; Small Pox, Ebola, Spanish Flu, Malaria, some of them even more virulent. Generally, these were confined to specific areas of the world, invariably the poorer countries, with weak systems and meagre resources.

In its surge the Covid-19 has shown no respect for wealth or power; the virus has crossed the oceans and climbed mountain ranges with ease, borders provide no barrier, it has infected both the weak as well as the strong, taking anyone and everyone within sneezing distance.

As nations scramble to overcome this unforeseen menace, the inherent strengths and weaknesses of each nation become apparent. A virus is not fought only with curfews, hospital beds, ventilators, inoculations and face masks, the culture and the ethos of the particular country also go to battle, determining the beat of the response.

We had the examples of many countries to learn from; face masks, social distance, lockdowns, isolating the clusters, working from home are not ideas that originated with us. Other countries did them, we followed suit. Initially, at the early stages, we apparently had good results. One has to be tentative here because our record was hypothetical, the numbers clinically tested were small.  Before long, that early declaration of victory proved fallacious, even foolish. Now the pandemic has become a terrifying spectre, haunting the entire country.

Our national psyche possesses other weapons in its armoury. We could always fall back on the occult, a formative force in the native makeup, an important behavioural factor here. We thrill to the use of the dark forces, witchcraft and evil eye terrify the inhabitants. Unremarkable the country may be in economic achievements, but when armed with satanic powers, we stand so mighty!   Pots of blessed water are being released to the rivers, garish talismans are carried on persons, endless chanting is heard, concoctions with magical powers are gulped down, good omens declared; alas, the virus is not deterred.

Today, the reality is dire; compounding the demands on an already floundering health sector, the pandemic has created an unprecedented need for more ICU beds, ventilators, oxygen and even hospital space. There is no need to reiterate that the country is poor, an economy extremely sensitive to any downturn. However, there is no tightening of belts, no foregoing of luxuries, no refusal to enjoy privileges on the part of the political establishment.   

Despite the suddenness of the epidemic, a few advanced countries have been able to develop an effective vaccine for the Covid-19 virus. Acting quickly, some governments obtained even an excessive stock of the vaccine for their people. They reasoned that the cost of overspending on the health of their people will be rewarded by their ability to keep the economies going. Advanced economies are also better suited for the concept of working from home.

We too benefited from the development of the vaccine, obtaining a limited amount of the antidote. Whether that number was sufficient to inoculate a critical mass is not known, but it appears that the campaign was concentrated in the Western Province and particularly in Colombo. A very limited stock of vaccines, far less than what is required, is an invitation to favouritism, if not corruption.

Now comes the play of culture and the ethos of the land. In this country, there is no question of the captain being the last to leave the ship, even at a buffet table the strongest eat first. Although every citizen is deemed equal and every citizen is a voter, when it is a life threatening situation, pretences are discarded, some are obviously more equal and more valuable.

It does not take a lot of imagination to come up with a criterion, sufficiently flexible to indulge the favoured; the frontline fighters in the battle against Covid-19! This list is long, including friends and relatives, as there is always the danger of catching the virus from your associates. Then, how about the legislators and administrators, surely they are also frontline, as important as the doctors and the nurses? There are the retirees, who had worked untiringly to develop the country. We have the various operatives and facilitators whose contribution must also not be ignored. Soon the frontline concept becomes very large, in a culture in which a persons’ eminence is measured from his ability to do favours for friends and relatives, we expect this to have reached comical levels by now. For the sake of enlightening the nation, the list of those who have thus far received the second vaccine should be produced in parliament, the institution to which we send our representatives, as guardians of good governance and fair play.

This second vaccine, more precisely, the non-appearance of it, has laid bare once again, the emptiness of our governments. It was always known that even for the few who received the first injection, a second was needed to reach a level of acceptable immunity, without the second, the first becomes meaningless. To our horror, we now learn that the government has not obtained the second. A ham-handed government and their languorous administration had hoped that the second dose would appear, when prayed for! Their solution – administer the very limited second dose available, among a favoured few!

There are only a few who would object; leading members of the opposition, media personnel, famous artists, religious dignitaries, prominent social activists have been enlisted to the frontline! 

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Latest comments

  • 19
    0

    The question is not just where is the second dose but where is the vaccine?
    What is the Govt’s plan to vaccinate circa 21million population with two doses needing circa 40million doses.

    China gifting 500,000 and Russian gifting 500,000 is a drop in the ocean.
    However Cabraal tweeted as a thank you that China is indeed a friend.
    Gota posed for photos personally receiving the drop in the ocean 500.000 dose.

    But the government has not announce their strategy to source and vaccinate 20 million Sri Lankans.

    However they are importing 227 luxury SUVs at a staggering cost of 3.5 billon rupees.
    Apparently they need these SUVs for the travel of the parliamentarians to dispense their democratic duties to the people.

    The question what is the logistics plan to transport the vaccine , once it’s sourced, to all over the nooks and corner of the country. They need fridge/freezers to keep the vaccine at an optimum temperature and transport them in an optimum temperature.

    • 3
      1

      Other than this what you expect from fools paradise

    • 3
      0

      Paddeniya is hallozinated: The kind of ballige puthas worked diehard current pimps to be the leaders of this country.

      It is obvious that current Leadership ignores the containment of COVID spread within the country. They are not hearted enough.
      83 million-Germany score 40 covid deaths a day today,… 22.5 million-Srilanka’s numbers of deaths today are exceeding… real danger is before the nation.

      Updates
      • 2,283 new cases in Sri Lanka [source]
      May 23
      Updates
      • 2,959 new cases and 32 new deaths in Sri Lanka [source]
      May 22
      Updates
      • 2,909 new cases and 46 new deaths in Sri Lanka [source] [source]
      May 21
      Updates
      • 3,547 new cases and 43 new deaths in Sri Lanka [source]
      May 20
      Updates
      • 3,443 new cases and 38 new deaths in Sri Lanka [source]

    • 3
      3

      Rajash ,

      ” But the government has not announced their strategy to source
      and vaccinate 20 million Srilankans .” Hanging out from the
      window of Madamulana at the defeat of Presidential election to
      Sira , MARA said ” Tamil and Muslim votes defeated him.” And
      again in the last Presidential election , GOTA repeated the reverse
      of it ! ” Sinhala Buddhist elected him .” So , for the Pohottuwa , the
      population is 6.9 million ! The real population stand at about 20.2
      million . Let’s now make one thing very clear ! Many countries
      around the globe failed to act on time and Srilanka is one of them .
      An Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response
      IPPPR at the request of WHO , has released its report which says
      that , ” it is due to myriad of failures , gaps and delays in
      preparedness in response institutions failed to protect people and
      Science – Denying leaders eroded public trust in health interventions .”
      And they further say , ” the situation we find ourselves in today could
      have been prevented.” The panel is comprised of Former P M of NZ
      Helen Clark and the former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ,
      a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate . Remember ” Science-Denying
      leaders , ” this is exactly where we fit in ! We had Dammika Syrup and
      “Kalagediya” that suited the 6.9 million ! Heil Gota !

    • 5
      0

      The question we ask here in Kandy is , where is the first dose?

    • 1
      0

      First dose was given at UNHCR in March this year. Second dose is being preserved to be given at UNHCR in March next year.

  • 22
    1

    This is total incompetence, and mismanagement. I guess with an official like Pavithra, Sri Lanka’s witchcraft/paniya/ganga wathura Health Minister, who along with her boss Nandasena, and the rest of the gang, who politicized this pandemic, and instead of focusing on urgently helping the people get vaccinated, and stopping the spreading, focused on how to make money off the whole damn thing.

    What chance do we have with corrupt leaders like this spear heading the campaign to save lives.?

    This is what happens when you vote for unqualified, incompetent leaders, who in turn appoint unqualified, inexperienced, cronies, to be in charge of our health and welfare.

    Nandasena failed the test, yet I won’t put it beyond his supporters to vote for him again, and again.

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

    • 2
      6

      Ashan NaNa

      Can we agree that there are circumstances beyond anyone’s control that is driving this issue. for instance, could you have predicted the surge of infections in India, ? Well if you could have one could have stopped the use of the astrazenica jab . or given only half of what they had keeping the rest. But I suggest to you no one has that kind of foreknowledge.

      What do you say about the moron drs who blocked the Chinese Vaccine for 3 weeks because they wanted to be heroes. ? I guess nothing as you like to blame Gota. ?

  • 18
    2

    First dose is Gota , it is already given (no one knows how many) ! The second
    dose is Basil , he is a Master mind in smart governance and a genius of many
    disciplines , so he escaped to the U S to advise Biden on various world issues !

  • 20
    4

    Gota is a monumental dunce ……. who can’t even win a pissing contest against 80 year old EE, unless it’s rigged in his favour!

    In Vijaya Maga or some nonsense ……. Gota promised Lankan “intellectuals” he is going to develop SL like Singapore. :))))

    Listen to how a less talented leader than Gota speaks,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-btRzxJvYOc

    LKY mentions “shit eating pigs” only twice in his development schemes ……. who among ye “intellectuals” believe our multitalented Gota can better that?

    Gota is going to make SL another Singapore! :))) …….. That’ll be the day his pigs will fly fuelled on S**t!

    What would Lanka be if there were no 6.9m Lankans? Heaven? ………… I wonder!

    A country like no other!

    But then we beat the Tamils, No? ……. Yes, No?

    80% beat 20% after 30 years with the greatest difficulty ……. with all the help from all the other countries …… and we celebrate as if it’s a great achievement !!!

    Says a lot about us as a people.

    The truth is the hardest thang to face for small insecure minds!

    Wanna listen to a feel-good Ra ra ra ra story, eh?

    • 6
      2

      nimal fernando:

      “80% beat 20% after 30 years with the greatest difficulty ……. with all the help from all the other countries …… and we celebrate as if it’s a great achievement !!!”

      Thanks for putting it very neatly. No one has said it better!

    • 1
      5

      nimal fernando,
      Sinhalayo beat the Tamil Terrorists? Yes! Yes! Yes!
      —-
      “But then we beat the Tamils, No? ……. Yes, No?”

    • 4
      0

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    • 2
      0

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  • 20
    3

    What else you expect when the head of state is a war criminal and
    a theif. Head of task force is a war criminal and a notorious rapist both in battlefields with surrendering females and in UN offices with ministers daughters

  • 4
    0

    The “NEXT IN LINE” to be the “King” – MP & Minister Namal Rajapaksa visited the Colombo suburbs to see for himself the problems faced by the citizens said: ” We have managed to control the spread of the virus and we are rated among the best in the world to have successfully combat the spread. By end of June, we can eradicate the spread of this pandemic completely”. Isn’t this “Assurance” good enough, and why do you want to question the need for a “Second Dose”?

  • 5
    3

    Strong man principle works well. He is very strong about military, dictatorship and he only knows to order military to kill. That is what he is doing. He kills people every day. He thinks more money spent on military will kill more virus but actually it kills more people. He begs for free vaccine but spend more money to buy arms, fighter planes and missiles. He made friends with China and Russia and made enemies with India, Japan, USA, Europe and Middle East.
    Buddhist Sinhala people celebrated when he killed innocent Tamils but now celebrating when Corona kills every one. Basil ran away without telling any one to his home country USA (Luckily he didn’t give up his citizenship). The strong man now wants to run away to his home country but he told that he gave up USA citizenship but if necessary he might get it back.

  • 1
    0

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  • 1
    2

    the problem I think is that each person in the high committees think that the next person has to bell the cat. so the merry-go-round goes on while the pandemic keep spreading.
    this situation has arisen when you have the wrong guys on board. let the politicians do job that they are good at but leave the serious work to the real experts.

  • 2
    1

    The second dose of vaccine Astrazenca is given to the privileged, not others. The country cannot hide behind the excuse that India has stopped exports of the vaccine. Clearly the vaccine too has become a part of geo-politics. We are restricting PCR tests to cut costs. Prof. Jayasumana should have taken steps to manufacture the primer locally as it is the most expensive part, perhaps with Chinese or Russian aid. Those countries even offered Sri Lanka to manufacture their vaccines locally here. The decision to go India for the vaccine, made by a top “advisor” cum ex-bureaucrat, was perhaps done in good faith but cannot rule out the “pathfinder” influence, now appears to be a costly mistake. People will now have to pay for this.

  • 6
    0

    Until reasonable amount of people are vaccinated and the curve is flattened the country and its people are never out of danger. So giving preference and importance to few is akin to claiming free of mosquito in a few dwellings when the surrounding is full of Dengue victims. Mosquito and Virus dosen’t know difference between VIP and VVIP.

    • 6
      2

      I recently read a statement from Minister Dilum who was asked about Virus Buster BR, s sudden disappearance. His answer was “BR is on a undercover highly secretive mission for the benefit of country and its people” . He added he cannot reveal anything further because it can jeopardize the mission

      • 5
        2

        Chiv,
        Is it true that Basil’s mission is to offer a 200 years lease on Trinco to the US, in return for unlimited supplies of fertilizer, parippu, turmeric, etc. And is he carrying an appeal from Gota to reinstate his US citizenship on humanitarian grounds?

  • 5
    1

    Interesting. 1) GMOA has complained that medical Union members too showed up at the vaccination centers and got their jabs. GMOA assist sec Dr. Navin De Zoysa told a press meet those medical union members who threatened to take stern action against injustice also showed up for vaccination. There by he accept it was injustice but still not happy with them getting. He further said “we are in position to reveal names with photos of those medical officers, however we dont want ourselves to be pushed to such immoral state”. This a new Lankan definition for immorality. In the mean time AMS (association of medical specialist) told press, though above people and family have received vaccines no Health Ministry Bulletin was issued. Hearing all this 3000 or so people assembled in front of LRH demanding their second jab.

  • 1
    1

    SL, obviously, in its ignorance, didn’t take the pandemic seriously. GR, in his ‘action man’ way of doing things, imposed a 5 week continuous curfew, & with a 2 week incubating period, should have been enough to stop the virus spreading. My affluent friends in SL were happy with the decisive & tough action taken & the GMOA, which initially hijacked the operation, presumably to score brownie points, gleefully stated in public how well, under their intervention in advising the govt., the pandemic is controlled, even better than developed countries. Now all that seem to be water under the bridge & the President of the GMOA should be eating humble pie. The second wave was blamed on Indian workers but they didn’t come in the night on a boat. Maybe the third wave was from tourists who came on ‘invitation’ by the govt. So who should take the blame for the current state of affairs?
    We have a health minister, a pandemic minister, as well as, other military personnel, presumably, coordinating the management of the pandemic but health minister preferred divine intervention & the pandemic minister seem to have never thought of a strategy in case of a worst case scenario or plans to procure vaccines but wait for donations from the WHO & friendly nations, such as, China & Russia.

  • 1
    1

    After a long curfew which brought misery to many, the lockdown was haphazard & the initial doses of the vaccination was for the politicians & their cronies. Those who were lucky to get the first vaccination were left high & dry with stocks having finished & no plans for replenishing.
    Apparently, the Oxford & Pfizer vaccines are effective 66%-88% if the second dose is given with 12 weeks, otherwise, the effectiveness drops to about 30%. So those who had the first but not the second before 12 weeks are not fully protected either. Obviously, our politicians must have thought buying SUV for themselves id money better spent than on vaccines.
    In UK, the pandemic very much under control & the lock down is eased gradually. The vaccination has been rolled out systematically throughout the country .

  • 0
    1

    cont.
    In UK, the pandemic very much under control now & the lock down is being eased gradually, despite, alarm for the Indian variant in some parts of the UK. The vaccination has been rolled out systematically throughout the country according to age, starting with over 70s & those with underlying health issues, as well as, frontline medical & nursing staff. The PM, & even royalty, had to wait for their turn, age wise (Harry got his jab a few weeks ago after turning 38). Currently, over 50m have been vaccinated, of which, 40% have got their second dose as well. It is expected that by Sept. the entire population is vaccinated.

    Boris J stands accused for mishandling the pandemic initially, even cited as to having said ‘let the bodies pile up’ (which he denies) in favour of letting the virus spread & for ‘herd immunity’ to kick in. Whether the UK govt. considered this strategy or not, it seems to be the strategy of SL. .

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