Coronavirus | 43 doctors die in Bengal in second wave

Doctors’ body calls the figure ‘unacceptable and alarming’.

As many as 43 doctors have died till date in West Bengal since March 20, when the second wave of COVID-19 began to hit the State, according to a doctors’ body, which called the figure “unacceptable and alarming.”

“Considering that about 105 doctors died between April and December 2020 during the first wave, the number of 43 in just two months is unacceptable and alarming. And we are not even counting the deaths of nurses and other healthcare workers,” said Dr. Koushik Chaki, a founding member of the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum (WBDF), calling for immediate vaccination of healthcare workers and also their family members.

Dr. Chaki dismissed the questions being raised about the effectiveness of the vaccine by some who pointed out that more than 30 of the 43 doctors who had died were fully vaccinated, saying: “The vaccine does not make you immortal. It only reduces the risk and the severity of the infection. It would be unscientific to question the vaccine. I would say that the figure would have been much higher had there been no vaccination.”

Dr. Rajiv Pandey, joint secretary of the WBDF, said: “The vaccination began around mid-January. There were many doctors who could take the second dose only by April, and it takes about a month or so for the vaccine to become effective. That should explain why even those who had received the vaccine happened to die.”

According to the two doctors, an aggressive large-scale vaccination drive and compulsory wearing of masks was the only way out of the crisis. “Cases appear to be coming down across the country, but we cannot afford to be negligent. The vaccination drive appears to be in disarray. Many people are still not sure whether or where they will get the vaccine. The government — doesn’t matter whether the Centre or the States — should move quickly in this regard if we want to check a third wave,” said Dr. Chaki.

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