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COVID-19 pandemic: Volunteers in Prayagraj create unique banks to provide essentials

These banks, which include a 'soap bank' and a 'time bank', started functioning from May 25.

August 20, 2020 / 03:52 PM IST
Representative Image (Bharat Scouts and Guides/Facebook)

Representative Image (Bharat Scouts and Guides/Facebook)

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit India, volunteers of Bharat Scouts and Guides, Prayagraj, decided to help those most vulnerable to get through these unprecedented times and began setting up unique banks, like a 'Soap Bank', 'Anaaj Bank', 'Sanitary Pad Bank' and even a 'Time Bank'.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the volunteers have been distributing soaps, sanitary pads etc among the needy while those attached to the 'Time Bank' are devoting their time to visiting old and infirm people at their homes in different villages.

"(The volunteers) inquire about their health and needs at a time when many are finding themselves alone and helpless during the pandemic," said Firoz Alam Khan, an academic resource person with the state’s basic education department and the district scout master of Prayagraj.

"There are scouts and guides in almost 665 government-run primary and upper primary schools, besides 185 secondary schools and 30 degree colleges of the district. In these institutions, around 35,000 students are a part of this movement, which is managed by 240 warranted scout masters and 1,400 more scout masters and guide captains," Khan said, adding that it was the volunteers who were managing and operating the unique banks.

These banks, according to the report, started functioning from May 25, and around 250 bars of soaps, 150 sanitary pads and 900 facemasks have been distributed in the slums of Bairahana and Fakirganj till now, according to the newspaper.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"To run these banks, a collection centre has been set up at the government primary school in Allenganj where all the items are collected and deposited for distribution through these banks," Reeta Sharma, a teacher at a government-run primary school, said.

Follow our full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.
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first published: Aug 20, 2020 03:52 pm
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