Report by Fr Tom Mangattuthazhe, Director NESCOM

NESCOM in collaboration with the covid task force of Kohima diocese, Nagaland organised a webinar on 8th June with the theme; Debunking misinformation and myths of Covid Vaccine.

The meeting began with an opening prayer led by Rev. Abel Jacob, the founder and director of Hope Charitable Foundation (HCF). Through his prayer, he called upon God’s blessing upon each one present for the virtual meeting.

In his message, his Lordship Bishop Albert Hemrom, Chairman of NESCOM, greeted and welcomed everyone. He opined that a vast section of the rural population is misguided by wrong information about covid 19 vaccines. 'The topic is apt, appropriate and relevant to the present situation to equip ourselves with better understanding and knowledge against the misinformation that is circulated', added chairman Bishop.

Introduction of the resource person Dr. Sedevi Angami was done by Fr. C. P. Anto (Covid Taskforce, Kohima Diocese, Nagaland).

Dr. Sedevi Angami is a very noble person of Nagaland, who is an upright medical doctor, known for his commitment, dedication, novelty, honesty; a philanthropist, social worker, humanitarian person and has a great concern for the poor.

Dr. Sedevi in his presentation said that the issue of Covid 19 should be addressed very vigorously. According to him many people were impatient to get the vaccine in the beginning but when it arrived many people were not willing to take the vaccine.

He pointed out some of the reasons for people not to opt for the covid vaccination which needs to be corrected. Some of the misconceptions are; People die of clots, there may be a problem with fertility, there is a conspiracy-microchip/tracking device, very learned scientists are talking against it, vaccines are not tried adequately, vaccines are not effective, vaccines are not safe, vaccines can cause other diseases, vaccines are not protective, vaccines were developed too fast and so cannot be trusted, vaccines should not be used during an epidemic.

The facts were explained by Dr.Sedevi; at CMC 9000 staff have received and 600 patients daily receive and not even a single staff died or were put in ICU, the ones who succumbed to death were not vaccinated, vaccines are effective to reduce mortality rate among the population, vaccines do protect against variants, vaccines do not alter DNA, vaccines do not make a person sick with covid, even if a person has contacted covid 19 and has recovered it is advisable to take the vaccine to boost the immune system.

The effectiveness of vaccines is 95%, there are several types of vaccines but only the ones approved are popularised. For the sake of safety, even after taking the vaccine, one must continue to wear the mask. In some cases, the side effects of vaccines may occur like body ache or fever and it is because the vaccine gets adjusted with the human body. And Covid vaccines do not contain the controversial substance.

Fighting the spread of fake news is important, do not forward such messages on social media platforms. The Church and NGOs can take up this challenge of educating people.

Responding to the presentation of Dr. Sedevi, Fr. Pious Shadap of SASCOM, Meghalaya said that Dr. Sedevi spoke from his heart. He has done a lot of research and is worth propagating the views among the people.

In her response, Sr. Shiji James, (MSMHC), the vice-president of SIGNIS-NE said that all ‘the inputs, information, facts, explanations and findings were apt and timely help. She expressed her hope that if better pieces of information were made available the confidence of the listeners to guide and encourage others would be facilitated’. She concluded her response by saying that she had quality and enriching time.

Ms. Gugu Heralu in her observation said that, the presentation of Dr.Sedevi was timely and through it people could can a decisive mind and heart to decide what to accept and what to avoid. The deliberations of the programme can be published and shared in different dialects and languages so that many benefit from the right knowledge.

There was a lot of time spend on clarifications from the participants. Dr.Sedevi informed that the trusted materials on covid can be found from the websites of CMC Vellore, WHO are some of them.

Mr. Allen Brooks, the executive body member of NESCO proposed the vote of thanks in which he thanked all the participants. While thanking Dr. Sedevi, he said that ‘as a resource person he presented the matter in very simple terms which everybody could understand. His points were very clear. Speaking further Mr. Allen Brooks emphasized that the deliberations and presentations should be extensively used by the church personnel and people at large.

The webinar was concluded by a closing prayer pronounced by Fr.Sebastian Ouseparalmbil the director of NEDSS and the head of the Northeast India covid task force.





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