75-yr-old urges others to follow ‘vaccinated, protected’ mantra

With a prick of the injection of just my first dose, all my Covid related worries disappeared, said veteran hockey player Balbir Singh Randhawa, who got the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on March 3 along with his wife Bhupinder Kaur, 75, in Amritsar.

“There was no reason to be afraid of the vaccine, especially the rumours of getting side-effects which circulated across social media,” Randhawa said. The two were administered the second dose of the Bharat Biotech manufactured Covaxin at the city’s Nayyar Hospital on April 7.

Dismissing reports of side-effects as “rumours and myths”, Randhawa said that he had faith in the government, scientists working on the vaccines and the frontline workers. “People in India blindly follow rumours and believe in myths. As a responsible citizen, it is our duty to join hands with government and frontline workers and to step up for getting vaccinated. Being vaccinated, we will not only save our families from getting infected but also help in breaking the chain of infections,” he said.

Many of his relatives, who reside in Canada, were hesitant about the vaccines and have now been infected, he said.

“We were eagerly waiting for the vaccination drive. Many people aged over 60 were infected and many died. In the second wave of pandemic, more such cases will be reported. As soon as the drive started] we booked an appointment at the hospital, took the Covaxin jab and felt more than relieved,” he said.

“The vaccine didn’t have any side effect on my body,” he said. Randhawa suffers from hypertension and diabetes.

Before the vaccination drive began, the elderly couple adhered to all Covid-19 guidelines. “To avoid getting infected with the virus, I and my wife ensured that we always wear face masks and maintain social distancing in public places,” Randhawa said.

The two also followed an exercise regimen and a healthy diet. “But a constant fear of getting infected was looming over my mind due to age and comorbidities,” Randhawa said.

The former hockey player, who played for the Indian Navy’s team for 11 years, is now urging people to follow the “Vaccinated and Protected” mantra.

“I urge all the people to get rid of hesitancy as the India-made vaccines are completely safe. Believe in Vaccinated and Protected mantra,” Randhawa said.

“We are thankful to the medical fraternity and the government. People should shun apprehensions and get themselves vaccinated,” Kaur urged.

Randhawa, however, added that people should not let their guard down even after getting vaccinated.

“Despite being vaccinated, I follow every Covid safety guideline, including wearing mask at public places. Vaccine is just another layer of protection against the virus. Till the time everybody gets vaccinated, we must follow Covid appropriate behaviour.”

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