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Year-ender 2021: Stories of goodness and triumph in times of COVID-19

From Olympic medals to Padma Shri winners, a look at what made us rejoice in a year filled with uncertainty.

December 27, 2021 / 07:41 PM IST
Environmentalist Tulsi Gowda won the Padma Shri and athlete Neeraj Chopra got India a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. (Twitter and AFP)

Environmentalist Tulsi Gowda won the Padma Shri and athlete Neeraj Chopra got India a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. (Twitter and AFP)


The year 2021 saw India struggle with a devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. As the year draws to a close, the threat of the Omicron variant looms large over the country and the rest of the world.

Nevertheless, there were stories of triumph and goodness that gave us hope in year filled with uncertainty.

Here is a look at some of those stories: 

Gurdwaras in and around Delhi provided oxygen to coronavirus patients as hospitals struggled with acute shortages during the second wave of the pandemic. One gurdwara also offered to fill up oxygen cylinders for free, according to reports.

‘Project O2’ has been launched to meet current demand of medical grade oxygen in the country, and ensure manufacture of adequate supply for the future (Representative Image) India battled a serious oxygen crisis during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

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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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Many other good Samaritans helped out their fellow citizens by providing them food and other essential supplies in tough times. In May, Humans of Bombay featured the story of a woman named Heena Mandavia and her son Harsh,  who distributed more than 22,000 meals in the city amid the coronavirus crisis.

Heena Mandavia and her son Harsh. (Image posted on Facebook by Humans of Bombay) Heena Mandavia and her son Harsh. (Image posted on Facebook by Humans of Bombay)

India achieved a milestone of administering 100 crore vaccine doses in October. Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked frontline workers for the milestone and congratulated the country. India’s vaccination drive had begun in January.

To visit the Indian village of Malana deep in the Himalayas, a COVID-19 vaccination team scrambled over a landslide that blocked the road the day before, scaled a retaining wall and then began a three-hour trek down and up a river valley. (Image: Reuters) India's vaccination drive began in January (Image: Reuters)

Transgender folk dancer Matha B Manjamma Jogati, environmentalist Tulsi Gowda and Harekala Hajabba, an orange seller from Karnataka, were among the winners of the Padma Shri award in November. The internet celebrated the choices for the country’s fourth-highest civilian award.

Padma awards 2020: Tulasi Gowda received the Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind. (Image credit: Photo tweeted by @rashtrapatibhvn) Environmentalist Tulsi Gowda won the Padma Shri. (Image credit: Photo tweeted by @rashtrapatibhvn)

Matilda Kullu, a grassroots health worker from Odisha, featured in Forbes magazine’s W-Power 2021 list for her work during the Covid-19 pandemic in the state. Kullu told Forbes India that she and her colleagues had to go door-to-door to educate people about the coronavirus “People used to run away from Covid tests, it was really hard to make them understand,” she added.

India’s Neeraj Chopra won a historic gold medal in athletics at the Tokyo Olympic Games in August as he topped the men’s javelin throw final. Meanwhile, the men’s hockey defeated Germany 5-4 in their third place match to clinch the bronze medal and end India's 41-year wait for an Olympic medal in the event. The Indian women’s hockey team narrowly missed a medal but was praised for its performance.

Neeraj Chopra had won gold during the Tokyo Olympics 2021. (Image credit: Reuters) Neeraj Chopra had won gold during the Tokyo Olympics 2021. (Image credit: Reuters)

Harnaaz Sandhu from India was crowned Miss Universe 2021. The 21-year-old from Punjab brought home the title 21 years after Lara Dutta became Miss Universe in 2000.

Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned the 70th Miss Universe on Sunday, topping a field of some 80 contestants in a pageant that was touched by politics and the pandemic. (Image: AP) Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned the 70th Miss Universe. (Image: AP)

A nine-year-old Indian-American boy, Anaik Sachdev, a guest on Ellen DeGeneres’s show, won hearts for setting up a library for COVID-19 patients in underserved communities and homeless patients.

Anaik Sachdev,9, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneresShow. Anaik Sachdev,9, appeared on The Ellen DeGeneresShow.

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first published: Dec 27, 2021 07:31 pm
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