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125-year-old Varanasi seer gets vaccinated

LUCKNOW: In times when a number of young people are shying away from Covid-19 vaccine, 125-year-old seer, Swami Shivanand Baba, in Varanasi got himself vaccinated against the pandemic virus.
Born on August 8, 1896 in erstwhile district Srihatta (now in Bangladesh), Swami Shivanand has been living in Varanasi’s Bhelupur area since 1979.
On Wednesday, Shivanand Baba surprised the staff at Durgakund urban primary health center vaccination center.
He told the health workers that he had come for vaccination. The elderly was immediately attended by sister Shakuntala. By far, he could be the senior most in the country while health officials believe that so far he is the oldest person to have taken the jab against the coronavirus.
In charge of the center Dr Sarika Rai confirmed the age of the elderly visitor. “His Adhaar card clearly indicated that he was 125 years old. His enthusiasm was contagious and age was surprising to all of us,” she said.
“There is no doubt about his age. We have several documents including passports to prove that he is 125 years old. Several years ago, he was examined by a team of doctors in Kolkata for the first time and no one could believe that he was extremely fit for his age. He believes in simple living and leads by example,” his disciple (since 1993) Dr Subhash Chandra Garai, medical officer in a multi-national company told TOI.
Some hospital staff interacted with Swami Shivanand while he passed his time in observation. Many of them were surprised to hear that he consumes only boiled food and half his appetite, practices yoga daily and believes in discipline.
“When he was leaving, we asked him how he was feeling and he said that he was feeling energised. He also said that people fear the vaccine for no reason. Everyone must take the jab,” recalled a health worker.
Experts said that there was a dire need for such role models to boost the vaccination programme. “Perception, fear of the unknown, misconceptions and misinformation affect everyone but some take it too seriously. To convince them, such role models come handy,” said one of them.
Health officials pointed out that UP has a target to vaccinate over 13.6 crore persons. Of these, 20,77,143 are aged about 80 years or more. In Varanasi, the number of 80 plus persons is 3,86,36 lakh.
Data from the Cowin Portal updated till 7 pm indicated that over 2.19 doses of the vaccine have been administered in UP since the launch of the programme on January 16. In terms of people at least 1.82 crore have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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