New York, NY: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating. Coronavirus has affected day to day life and is slowing down the global economy. It has rapidly affected our day-to-day life, businesses, disrupted the world trade and movements. The distribution and administration of Covid vaccines in the United States and around the world have given us hope, but there are several unanswered questions and skepticism about the efficacy of the vaccines.
Second in a series of webinars, a timely discussion organized virtually by the Global Organization of Persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Manhattan Chapter in collaboration with the Indian Consulate in New York on February 26th provided answers to these most important questions.
Attended by people from around the globe, the webinar led by Hana Akselrod, MD, MPH attempted to answer questions raised by laymen on the pandemic, how it spreads and ways to prevent and mitigate the spread. Currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr. Akselrod has been active in medical education, serving as a faculty mentor in the Quality Improvement and the Clinical Public Health curriculum programs, conducting research on HIV and aging as part of the DC Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and DC Cohort Longitudinal HIV study. During an hour-long presentation, she provided an overview of the epidemic and the efficacy of the vaccines in common man’s language.
In his opening remarks, Consul General of India in New York, Randhir Kumar Jaiswal congratulated GOPIO for organizing the much needed webinar on Covid 19 and for educating the community on such a timely and vital topic with a thoughtful session by experts in the healthcare field. While acknowledging the challenges faced by humanity due to COVID, the Ambassador expressed hope and said, “There is optimism in the New Year and we hope to put this pandemic away.”
Ambassador Jaiswal lavished praise on GOPIO and its leadership for the many initiatives. “GOPIO has helped NRIs in several ways, facilitating travel, organizing prescription medicine and providing living accommodation to many stranded due to Covid. I am appreciative and thank GOPIO for their constant efforts to be on the forefront.”
Ambassador Randhir Jaiswal referred to India’s massive undertaking under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has undertaken what is likely to be the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination campaign, joining the ranks of wealthier nations where the effort is already underway. India has plans to vaccinate 300 million people, roughly the population of the United States. Praising the two India-based pharmaceutical companies for manufacturing the vaccines in record time, Mr. Jaiswal said, “We are sharing our vaccines with other countries who need them. It gives us pride that we can share our scientific knowledge with the world.” While acknowledging that the mutations are posing additional threats, he assured, “We are pushing the pandemic away in India and around the world.”