In what is a significant development after relaxation and easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the Ministry of Health will, beginning today, roll out second boosters or the fourth dose to the priority group.

What is important to bear in mind is that even though the Omicron variant is significantly milder compared with the previous variants, it is fast-spreading and poses a serious threat to the vulnerable population—the old and those with chronic medical conditions. According to the Ministry of Health, of the 18 Covid-related deaths in the country so far, most had underlying medical conditions.

In our case, the priority group includes people who are 65 years and above 12 years and above with chronic medical conditions, all the health workers, out-bound travellers who are 18 years and above, frontline workers (the armed forces, de-suups, public transport drivers and workers at mini dry port). According to the records, close to 130,000 are in the vulnerable group; more than 56,000 are above 65 years, and more than 90,000 are living with comorbidities.

For those who don’t fall under the priority category, the ministry has said that the booster shot is optional but the people are encouraged to take to take the shot if one has completed three months after the first booster shot. The vaccines might not protect us from virus, as experts claim, but they can significantly reduce the severity and hospitalisation. It is, therefore, advised that we take the booster shot as soon as possible. The good news is that we have enough doses for the entire population.

Now that we have opened up fully, which will result in more mingling and interactions, the virus is expected to spread even faster. Schools, colleges, and businesses have opened. With protocols such as physical distancing eased, return to “normal” should be a concern. A large number of people have had to go through challenging times because of protracted lockdowns and the economy took a beating. The only way forward was to open up, but that doesn’t mean we are done with the virus.

Certainly, the virus isn’t done with us. In fact, the lifting of relaxation comes with responsibility. It is now upon us to take care of ourselves and our communities.