It is not merely the fear of Covid that’s making hundreds of senior citizens queue up for the vaccine at hospitals across Kolkata every morning. Many have their own reasons to scurry for the shot and they are varied and curious — some want it to travel abroad to be with their children, some are desperate to resume normal outdoor activities and others are anxious to protect younger family members suffering from co-morbidities. Some even said they are under pressure from neighbours.Sixty-four-year-old Sanjukta Basu, a Tollygunge resident, waited two-and-half hours at EEDF Hospital to get the vaccine along with her sister last week. “I was supposed to visit my daughter in Rotterdam last summer but the pandemic sent all plans haywire. Unless I am vaccinated, I will not be allowed into Holland. Now that the situation has improved somewhat, I am desperate to visit her,” she said. The wait for the vaccine was a long one and, being diabetic, she was left exhausted. “But I hung on till I got it for I didn’t want to miss my turn and prolong the wait,” she said.
Brijbhushan Singh, 63, took the shot on the very first day inoculations started for senior citizens. He took his 93-year-old mother Phulwati along. “I have been worried about my mother who is obviously more susceptible than me. I was keen that she took the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Singh, who is the principal of Bhawanipore High School.
It now lets him return to work without fear, said Singh. “It’s frustrating to live with the spectre of Covid lurking at the back of your mind. I felt restricted and was always wary of the virus. More than myself, I was scared of infecting my mother and the other family members. Now, I feel confident,” said Singh.
Sixty-year-old golfer Brendon D’Souza had to cut down on professional travel, which hurt him. “My profession demands that I travel frequently, which had come to a halt. So I was keen to get the vaccine in the first week so that I could return to the course without a worry. Many are wary of the shot, but even if it offers 70% protection, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take it. Now that I have got the vaccine, I feel safer and free. I will soon resume travel,” said D’Souza.
A 79-year-old Ballygunge resident said his neighbours had been asking him to take the vaccine. “My children live abroad so I was a bit worried about my health. It was, in fact, my neighbours who urged me to go and get it,” he said.
Wood Street resident Arun Malhotra took the vaccine last week at an EM Bypass hospital.
“This is the best preventive measure that one can take. Apart from the fact that the vaccine now gives me some freedom to lead a normal life, I am also keen to protect my family members. Though I don’t think you can throw caution to the wind even after the shot,” said Malhotra.
Madhav Adige, 72, and wife Sheela, 65, have rarely left their home in the last year. The couple said they have been feeling stifled and mentally exhausted. “We didn’t venture out unless it was necessary. But it left us mentally jaded. Now that we have got the vaccine, we can go out without fear, though I still won’t be wading through a crowd,” said Adige.
Source: Times of India