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Not afraid of coronavirus, won't take jabs: Farmer leaders in vulnerable age group

The 80-year-old Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal, a senior member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha which is spearheading the agitation, said he will not go to vaccination centres to receive the jabs.

March 01, 2021 / 06:09 PM IST
 (Image: AP)

(Image: AP)

Protesting farmer leaders in the vulnerable age group Monday said they are not afraid of coronavirus and won't take vaccine jabs, even as the second phase of vaccination drive got underway to inoculate senior citizens and those above 45 with underlying medical conditions.

However, they also said they will not stop any farmer camping at several Delhi borders from getting vaccinated as it is an individual choice.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points -- Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur -- for over three months, demanding a repeal of the three agri reform laws enacted by the Centre in September last year.

The 80-year-old Farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal, a senior member of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha which is spearheading the agitation, said he will not go to vaccination centres to receive the jabs.

"I don't need vaccine jabs. We have killed corona. Farmers' immunity level is strong because they work hard on their fields. Farmers are not afraid of coronavirus," Rajewal told PTI.

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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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Another senior leader Joginder Singh Ugrahan (75) said the fear of contracting the disease is "not enough" to distract them from their fight.

"There is no corona for farmers. I will not get vaccine shots, but we will not ask anyone to not get the shot," said the president of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), which is leading the protest at Delhi's Tikri border.

However, Dharmendra Malik, the media in-charge of Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait who is leading the protest at the Ghazipur border, said if the local administration makes arrangements for protesting farmers, Tikait will not have any problem getting vaccinated.

The 70-year-old Kulwant Singh Sandhu, a member of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, said he will not receive the vaccine shot.

"We are not afraid of coronavirus. Thousands of farmers are staging sit-in protests at Delhi borders, but not a single case of coronavirus has been detected there," Sandhu said.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the AIIMS here and appealed to all those who are eligible to get inoculated.

"Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19," he tweeted.

"I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!" Modi said.

The second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive began on Monday in the country.

In the first phase, starting January 16, over 3.6 lakh beneficiaries comprising healthcare workers and frontline workers, have been vaccinated in Delhi.

On Monday, the drive began to give jabs to persons aged 60 and above, and those in 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities.
PTI

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