The idea surrounding vaccines is that it will fix all problems brought about by Covid-19. It will reinstate the pre-pandemic normalcy, allowing everything from educational institutions, garment factories, restaurants to public vehicles to run as usual.
The public healthcare administration, that has so far given first doses to more than 37 lakh people in a six-day mass vaccination campaign starting 7 August, is relaying the message that the population will soon be rescued from this nightmare.
The same administration, however, has disregarded all health guidelines during the vaccination drive.
Looking around, the ground reality is that vaccinations will not stop the pandemic anytime soon.
The best hope we have for the present is to embrace some changes in our everyday lives instead of resisting them. That is the quickest way to recover from Covid-19 shocks.
A few of the changes that should become permanent are wearing masks in public, maintaining cleanliness, hygiene and washing hands to prevent the virus from spreading.
In terms of the vaccination, there are three objectives -- containing disease transmission, lowering hospitalisation rate and the severity of the disease, and saving more lives from the clutch of the novel coronavirus.
Of these, the latter two are achievable immediately, according to Prof Sayedur Rahman, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
But to check the virus through vaccination, 80% or more people have to be inoculated because at that point, which is called herd immunity, the virus will have very few hosts to infect.
The discussion on reaching that point, however, has become more and more irrelevant following the evolution of variants, such as the Delta, that can flout the protective shield that develops in people after vaccination.
As of now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US has learnt that the Delta variant is responsible for the recent rise in infections in American states that have vaccinated as many as 70% of their population and that even vaccinated people fell sick with the version of the virus.
The people diagnosed with Covid infection even after receiving vaccine shots had as much virus in their throat and nose as unvaccinated people did, making them equally contagious.
What gives us hope is that they had mild symptoms, and hospitalisation was not required in most cases, according to the New York Times.
If that level of safety is what Bangladesh aims for, attaining it will take time.
The country has 1.40 crore doses in total of AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in stock until 9 August. Another 1.4 lakh have received at least the first dose of any of the double-dose vaccines.
The ongoing drive and monthly inoculation campaigns of 1 crore from September will help reach the 40% target by the end of this year and at least 60% by the mid-2022, aligned with the threshold set by the International Monetary Fund.
That will happen if a steady supply of doses is ensured and if the government can address the issues of resource constrains to take the doses from airport tarmacs to the arms of the targeted people living in remotest corners of the country.
Even if Bangladesh does that successfully, lives will not find a way back to the pre-pandemic world.
In its latest statement, the CDC has backtracked on its earlier recommendation that vaccinated people can go about their regular activities without masks.
In fact, Prof Sayedur said, if vaccinated people get infected, they might suffer from mild symptoms but if they transmit the infection to someone not vaccinated, their life might be threatened.
"We cannot return to where we were. Did we say after the World War II that we would have to return to what lives used to be before the war? We did not," he said.
The world has to move on and so policymakers will have to do the remodeling or redesigning of the environment to make every sector function.
For example, schools, colleges and other institutions can reopen at the end of the third wave, and in that case they will have to intensify cleanliness and enforce health guidelines and hygiene practices, said Be-Nazir Ahmed, member of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups.
He explained how protective measures would minimise the spread of infection. If a bus driver and a helper are vaccinated and use masks during their job and the passengers use masks and are vaccinated, the possibility of passing the infection and making others sick will be reduced to almost zero.
Developing nations like Bangladesh need to find their own solutions since the challenges they are facing are different from those in developed nations.
For example, our educational institutions have varied infrastructures – some have large windows, some do not and some institutions have air-conditioning systems while others conduct classes in packed classrooms. Therefore, solutions will be different for different set-ups.
Whatever solutions we design, we have to adapt to changes to contain the virus circulation because the longer it travels round the world the chances of us confronting another stronger mutant variant get higher.
If that happens, scientists and researchers will continue to be in the race for developing an effective vaccine to fight the virus.