Connect with us


The latest: Pfizer vaccine prevents those who have recovered from Covid from getting another attack



Dr. B. J. C. Perera

MBBS (Cey), DCH (Cey), DCH(Eng), MD (Paed), MRCP (UK), FRCP (Edin), FRCP(Lon), FRCPCH (UK), FSLCPaed, FCCP, Hony. FRCPCH (UK), Hony. FCGP (SL)

Specialist Consultant Paediatrician and Honorary Senior Fellow, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Joint Editor, Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health Section Editor, Ceylon Medical Journal

It is now quite well-known that the COVID-19 vaccines very definitely prevent one from getting a severe form of the disease and dying from it. The immunity against severe disease from the SARS-CoV-2 virus is quite high when the recommended doses of vaccines against COVID-19 are properly given and especially so when a Pfizer vaccine booster third dose is given. As the immunity tends to wane a bit after the routine course of two doses is initially given, it has to be stimulated and enhanced by a booster third dose, given at the appropriate interval of time.

To reiterate a very important quality of the COVID vaccines, it must be remembered that the vaccines, in fact, none of the currently available COVID vaccines, can prevent one from contracting the virus and getting the COVID-19 disease to a clinically significant extent. This is a very significant fundamental difference between the COVID vaccines and virtually all other vaccines available against infectious diseases. There are some reports of variable amounts of some protection against one actually getting the COVID-19 disease by some of the vaccines but this has so far not been proven to be one hundred percent protection.

The current thinking is that even the fully vaccinated persons can still contract the virus, albeit escape severe disease and death in the majority, but clearly remain as a source of infection to others. This is the vital rationale behind the often-repeated health advice to even fully vaccinated people to avoid crowds, keep their social distance, wear an effective mask and continue proper washing of hands as the vaccines do not guarantee that one will not get the infection and also prevent one from being a source of spread for the disease. This is of course ever so important in the face of the latest Omicron variant that has a hitherto unprecedented ability to spread like a wildfire.

Yet for all that, it is known that the risk of reinfection with the COVID-19 decreases substantially among patients who have recovered fromthe actual coronavirus disease COVID-19. Research studies have shown that infection with COVID-19 prompts a worthy immune response in the vast majority and provides protection against recurrent infection. What is not known is for how long such valuable protective immunity lasts.

Current worldwide guidelines from all over the planet advocate vaccination of recovered patients even though robust data regarding vaccine efficacy in such situations is still quite limited. Early evidence has shown the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccination in small groups of recovered patients in the short term. However, the effectiveness in large populations and for extended periods remains quite uncertain. To complicate matters further, how well immunity provided by one strain of the virus will work against another strain is also largely unknown. We just do not have a comprehensive picture of the clinical profile of people who have recovered from COVID-19.

In such a background, a report from Israel, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on 16th February 2022, should be of interest to all of us. Using electronic medical data, the researchers looked at the reinfection rates among patients three months earlier and subsequently received the Pfizer vaccine and those who had not received a vaccine between March 1 and November 26, 2021.

The investigators concluded that administration of the Pfizer vaccine to patients who had recovered from COVID-19 was linked to significantly lower rates of reinfection with the virus. They further stated that their results are compatible with data from other research endeavours that have shown sturdy immunological responses to vaccination in previously infected persons. It is the results of an epidemiological study that corroborates the immunological evidence.

This latest information fits in quite well with the strategies used by the Ministry of Health and the government of Sri Lanka to vaccinate with the Pfizer vaccine even people who have recovered from COVID-19. The way the disease has been spreading in the recent past, the base cohort of people who have had and recovered from COVID must be quite substantial. If by vaccinating such a considerable proportion of our people with a booster dose, we can reduce or prevent them from getting reinfected, the residual pool of people who can spread the disease in the future will be markedly reduced. This would appear to be a “win-win situation” in our fight against the virus.

So, the take-home message is very clear. It is based on currently available scientific evidence. Our health authorities and the government have gone to great lengths and spent a fortune in securing adequate amounts of the Pfizer vaccine for booster doses. They have been shouting from the rooftops and even vehemently pleading with our people to get the booster dose of the vaccine. Yet, for all that, mainly due to misinformation and disinformation, the response from our populace has been quite tardy and unsatisfactory, to say the least.

This article is a plea on the part of the writer, using all available data from scientific studies, for our people to go ahead and take the booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine without any further delay. Just ignore all the false information that is doled out, particularly by social media.

By getting the booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you will be contributing your mite to the welfare of our populace in particular and the efforts of our country as a whole in general, to fight this menace of the blot of COVID-19.


Responding to our energy addiction



by Ranil Senanayake

Sri Lanka today is in the throes of addiction withdrawal. Reliant on fossil fuels to maintain the economy and basic living comforts, the sudden withdrawal of oil, coal and gas deliveries has exposed the weakness and the danger of this path of ‘development’ driven by fossil energy. This was a result of some poorly educated aspirants to political power who became dazzled by the advancement of western industrial technology and equated it with ‘Development’. They continue with this blind faith even today.

Thus, on December 20th 1979, an official communiqué was issued by the Government and displayed in the nation’s newspapers stating, “No oil means no development, and less oil, less development. It is oil that keeps the wheels of development moving”. This defined with clarity what was to be considered development by the policy-makers of that time. This fateful decision cast a deadly policy framework for the nation. The energy source that was to drive the national economy would be fossil-based. Even today, that same policy framework and its adherents continue. Everything, from electricity to cooking fuel, was based on fossil energy.

The economics of development, allows externalizing all the negative effects of ‘development’ into the environment, this being justified because, “industrialisation alleviates poverty”. The argument, is that economies need to industrialise in order to reduce poverty; but industrialisation leads to ‘unavoidable emissions. Statements like, ‘reduction in poverty leads to an increase in emissions’ is often trotted out as dogma. Tragically, these views preclude a vision of development based on high tech, non-fossil fuel driven, low consumptive lifestyles. Indeed, one indicator of current ‘development’ is the per capita consumption of power, without addressing the source of that power.

A nation dependent on fossil fuel is very much like an addict dependent on drugs. The demand is small, at first, but grows swiftly, until all available resources are given. In the end, when there is nothing else left to pawn, even the future of their children will be pawned and finally the children themselves! Today, with power cuts and fuel shortages, the pain of addiction begins to manifest.

The creation of desire

This perspective of ‘development’, the extension of so-called ‘civilised living’ is not new to us in Sri Lanka, Farrer, writing in 1920, had this to say when visiting Colombo:

“Modern, indeed, is all this, civilised and refined to a notable degree. All the resources of modern culture are thick about you, and you feel that the world was only born yesterday, so far as right-thinking people are concerned.

And, up and down in the shade of glare, runs furiously the unresting tide of life. The main street is walled in by high, barrack like structures, fiercely western in the heart of the holy East, and the big hotels upon its frontage extend their uncompromising European facades. Within them there is a perpetual twilight, and meek puss-faced Sinhalese take perpetually the drink orders of prosperous planters and white-whiskered old fat gentlemen in sun hats lined with green. At night these places are visible realisation of earthly pleasure to the poor toiling souls from the farthest lonely heights of the mountains and the jungle.” The process goes on still …

Develop we must, but cautiously – with the full awareness of the long-term consequences of each process. Development must be determined by empowering the fundamental rights of the people and of the future generations. Clean air, clean water, access to food and freedom from intoxication, are some of these fundamental rights. Any process that claims to be part of a development process must address these, among other social and legal fundamental rights.

One problem has been that, the movement of a country with traditional non-consumptive values, into a consumerist society based on fossil energy tends to erode these values rapidly. Often, we are told that this is a necessary prerequisite to become a ‘developed country’, but this need not be so. We need to address that fundamental flaw stated in 1979. We need to wean ourselves away from the hydrocarbon-based economy to a carbohydrate-based economy. Which means moving from a fossil fuel-based economy to a renewable energy-based economy.

Fossil Fuels or fossil hydrocarbons are the repository of excess carbon dioxide that is constantly being injected into the atmosphere by volcanic action for over the last 200 million years. Hydrocarbons are substances that were created to lock up that excess Carbon Dioxide, sustaining the stable, Oxygen rich atmosphere we enjoy today. Burning this fossil stock of hydrocarbons is the principal driver of modern society as well as climate change. It is now very clear that the stability of planetary climate cycles is in jeopardy and a very large contributory factor to this crisis are the profligate activities of modern human society.

As a response to the growing public concern that fossil fuels are destroying our future, the fossil industry developed a ‘placating’ strategy. Plant a tree, they say, the tree will absorb the carbon we emit and take it out of the atmosphere, through this action we become Carbon neutral. When one considers that the Carbon which lay dormant for 200 million years was put into the atmosphere today, can never be locked up for an equal amount of time by planting a tree. A tree can hold the Carbon for 500 years at best and when it dies its Carbon will be released into the atmosphere again as Carbon Dioxide.

Carbon Dioxide is extracted from the atmosphere by plants and converted into a solid form through the action of photosynthesis. Photosynthetic biomass performs the act of primary production, the initial step in the manifestation of life. This material has the ability to increase in mass by the absorption of solar or other electromagnetic radiation, while releasing oxygen and water vapor into the atmosphere. It is only photosynthetic biomass that powers carbon sequestration, carbohydrate production, oxygen generation and water transformation, i.e., all actions essential for the sustainability of the life support system of the planet.

Yet currently, it is only one product of this photosynthetic biomass, sequestered carbon, usually represented by wood/timber, that is recognized as having commercial value in the market for mitigating climate change. The ephemeral part, the leaves, are generally ignored, yet the photosynthetic biomass in terrestrial ecosystems are largely composed of leaves, this component needs a value placed on it for its critical ‘environmental services’

With growth in photosynthetic biomass, we will see more Oxygen, Carbon sequestering and water cleansing, throughout the planet. As much of the biomass to be gained is in degraded ecosystems around the planet and as these areas are also home to the world’s rural poor, these degraded ecosystems have great growth potential for generating photosynthetic biomass of high value. If the restoration of these degraded ecosystems to achieve optimal photosynthetic biomass cover becomes a global goal, the amazing magic of photosynthesis could indeed help change our current dire course, create a new paradigm of growth and make the planet more benign for our children.

Instead of flogging the dead horse of fossil energy-based growth as ‘Economic Development’, instead of getting the population addicted to fossil energy, will we have the commonsense to appreciate the value of photosynthetic biomass and encourage businesses that obtain value for the nations Primary Ecosystem Services (PES)? The realization of which, will enrich not only our rural population but rural people the world over!

Continue Reading


Australia-Sri Lanka project in the news…Down Under



The McNaMarr Project is the collaboration between Australian vocalist and blues guitarist, John McNamara, and Andrea Marr, who is a Sri Lankan-born blues and soul singer, songwriter and vocal coach.

Her family migrated to Australia when she was 14 and, today, Andrea is big news, Down Under.

For the record, Andrea has represented Australia, at the International Blues Challenge, in Memphis, Tennessee, three times, while John McNamara has also been there twice, representing Australia.

Between them, they have 10 albums and multiple Australian Blues awards.

Their second album, ‘Run With Me,’ as The McNaMarr Project, now available on all platforms, worldwide, has gone to No. 1 on the Australian Blues and Roots Sirplay charts, and No. 12 on the UK Blues charts.

Their debut album, ‘Holla And Moan,’ released in 2019, charted in Australia and the US Blues and Soul charts and received rave reviews from around the world.

Many referred to their style as “the true sound of soulful blues.”

= The Rocker (UK): “They’ve made a glorious album of blues-based soul. And when I say glorious, I really mean it. I’ve tried to pick out highlights, but as it’s one of the records of this year – 2019 – (or any other for that matter) it’s tricky. You have to own this.”

= Reflections in Blue (USA): “Ten original tunes that absolutely nail the sound and spirit of Memphis soul. Marr has been compared to Betty Lavette and Tina Turner and with good reason. She delivers vocals with power and soul and has a compelling stage presence. McNamara’s vocals are reminiscent of the likes of Sam & Dave or even Otis Redding. This is quality work that would be every bit as well received, in the late 1950s, as it is today. It is truly timeless.”

= La Hora Del Blues (Spain): “Andrea Marr’s voice gives us the same feeling as artistes, like Betty Lavette, Tina Turner or Sharon Jones, perfectly supported by John McNamara’s work, on vocals and guitar…in short words, GREAT!”

Yes, John McNamara has been described as an exceptional vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, whose voice has been compared to the late great Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, while Andrea Marr often gets compared to the likes of Tina Turner, Gladys Knight and Sharon Jones.

Continue Reading


Manju Robinson’s scene…



Entertainer and frontline singer, Manju Robinson, is back, after performing at a leading tourist resort, in the Maldives, entertaining guests from many parts of the world, especially from Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Poland…and Maldivians, as well.

His playlist is made up of the golden oldies and the modern sounds, but done in different styles and versions.

While preparing for his next foreign assignment…in the Maldives again, and also Dubai, Manju says he has plans to do his thing in Colombo.

Manju has performed with several local bands, including 3Sixty, Shiksha (Derena Dreamstar band), Naaada, Eminents, Yaathra, Robinson Brothers, Odyssey, Hard Black and Mark.

He was the winner – Best Vocalist and the Best Duo performer – at the Battle of the Bands competition, in 2014, held at the Galadari Hotel.

In 2012, he won the LION’s International Best Vocalist 2012 award.

Continue Reading