My Column : Light at the end of tunnel

We all know 2020 has been one of the most difficult and frustrating year of our living memory. Race for a vaccine has been frantic. But the rewards promising; at-least that is what we all hope for! Dr Prabir Mitra a general practioner in the east of United kingdom writes; when I helped vaccinate hundreds of elderly and vulnerable patients against Covid-19 at my surgery in Norfolk this December, it was the first time in months that I have heard them express hope for the future.

Mitra, 46, kept a photo diary of the immunisation programme at St James medical practice in King’s Lynn to document what he regards as the first positive step to tackle the virus after the hardest year he has faced in 13 years as a family GP.
Around 975 patients over the age of 80 received their first dose of the Pfizer/Bio-Tech jab, which was shown to have 95% efficacy in its final trials. Staff from two other GP practices in the town helped meet the deadline to deliver the vaccine, which has to be used within three and a half days of being defrosted from -70C to ensure it is effective.

Mitra, 46, kept a photo diary of the immunisation programme at St James medical practice in King’s Lynn to document what he regards as the first positive step to tackle the virus after the hardest year he has faced in 13 years as a family GP.
Around 975 patients over the age of 80 received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which was shown to have 95% efficacy in its final trials. Staff from two other GP practices in the town helped meet the deadline to deliver the vaccine, which has to be used within three and a half days of being defrosted from -70C to ensure it is effective. Among the first to be vaccinated was Enid Bright, 93, who worked as a receptionist at the surgery for more than 20 years. “She was quite emotional having almost spent the whole year within her four walls,” said Mitra. “She was hoping she could perhaps see some family members.”
Another of the patients Mitra photographed was Raymond Burn, 85, who has lived on his own since his wife died a few years ago. “He likes travelling. He was in Italy just before the first lockdown. He was pleased to receive the vaccination because he has received a significant diagnosis in an advanced stage and he doesn’t know how long he will be here with us. He was hoping the jab will allow him to be up and about rather than being confined to his house.”

One of the most memorable patients to receive the jab was John Madge, 95, who turned up wearing a three-piece suit, tie and hat. “He was our most sophisticatedly dressed patient,” said the GP. “When he took his coat off, his left arm was bare. He’d taken a pair of scissors and cut a whole sleeve off, thinking that that would help us. He said: ‘I have lived through the war and I hope I will live through this war.’”
For Mitra, the pandemic has also been personally challenging. From March until late summer he lived separately from his wife, Sanjukta, a teacher, and their two teenage children, in an annexe of their home, owing to “nerve-racking” fears that he might infect them.

“I would enter the back door, walk straight into the shower and put the clothes into the washing machine before entering the house,” he said. “The rest of the family were not allowed into that part of the building. I know colleagues who hired a room in a hotel for six weeks. They didn’t go home because their children had health issues.”
The patients who received their initial dose of the vaccine, will return in the first week of January for their second injection. Mitra is optimistic that 2021 will bring better times. “I hope that with the scientific advances, we will be able to beat the virus. This is the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Now when the Oxford vaccine also has been also approved , mass vaccination will start next week here in England and we all hope that it will signal the road to freedom and hope to all.
We dedicate this issue of Lekhni to the brave Corona warriors of the world who saved millions of lives and to them also who lost their battle against this nasty virus.May God keep all those departed souls in his protection.
With a sincere prayer that mankind never sees another year like 2020 again, let us not loose the hope. We welcome two new writers and poet in Lekhni family with this issue . My sixteen year old grandson Sahil Agrawal And dear friend Prabha nair from Mumbai. Hope you will enjoy and appreciate their sensitive and thinking writing style.
wishing all a happy and prosperous new year!

Shail Agrawal