Vineet On the Challenges He Faced Getting Medicines During COVID
‘Mukkabaaz’ actor Vineet Kumar Singh tells The Quint how he helped people get medicines when they were unavailable.
Actor Vineet Kumar Singh who is recovering from COVID in Benares, recently posted a tweet about shortage of medicine and lashed out at the administrative failure amidst the current health crisis facing the country.
“I am in Varanasi. The medicine Fabiflu is not available in the market. Private labs have been unable to conduct COVID-19 test for the past five days. What should I give to the sick? Your promises or the videos of the huge crowd at your rallies that you regularly share?... Selfishness makes one blind. Wake up, the common man is dying,” Singh tweeted in Hindi on Friday.
Actor Pankaj Tripathi immediately responded and sent him medicines. The 42-year-old actor who is also a certified ayurvedic doctor told us the challenges he and his family faced.
When did you start getting symptoms?
Vineet Kumar Singh: I was shooting for a film called Siya in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh. We finished the schedule, and I was very happy that I’ll get to go home. Home is Benares for me, and I have not been home for more than one-and-half-years just for precautionary reasons, I have a joint family which consists of people from all age groups. So, anyway this time I thought because we took all precautions while shooting, it’s safe to go home. Though last 4-5 days we shot in public places. It’s a 5-hour drive from Pratapgarh to Benares, so as soon as we packed up, I left. But within 20 to 30 minutes of my journey I felt nauseated. I stopped the car but didn’t vomit, I thought maybe it’s because of the food I ate as we were shooting outdoors, but you know what happens I am an actor, I have to remove my mask before giving a shot but before I even wear it people will come asking for selfies. They refuse to wear mask and won’t let me wear a mask, because then what is the point of that selfie, right? But, I insisted they wear a mask if they want a selfie, however by the time one selfie is over others are already there waiting for selfies without masks. Anyway, I got home and next two days I was absolutely fine, so I thought maybe it’s the heat. After two days I got fever, malaria kind of fever, with chills. So, I tested myself for malaria, the test was negative. Again, next two days I was fine, third day the fever was back. I got all my tests done again. Everything came negative except COVID. I had shifted my parents to another place even before the results came, but my sister was around, so she also got it. Then my maasi also showed symptoms, by then medication had started.
We saw your tweet about the unavailability of medicines. What were the challenges you faced?
Vineet Kumar Singh: Initially, the medicine that I was taking - Fabiflu was easily available for the first few days, but later it started getting difficult. I am a doctor; my friends are doctors, and my friend was treating me. He got the medicines for me initially. I realised all my childhood friends around me had like 4 to 5 patients each at home. And all of them were facing the same problem that medication was not available. So, when I asked my doctor friend, he said, ‘Vineet we are also facing the same problem. So if you can manage, please do.’ Can you imagine the situation when family members don’t have enough dosage of medicine for the night and we don’t know how to get that?
Who all other than Pankaj Tripathi reached out to you post the tweet?
Vineet Kumar Singh: So, the moment I tweeted about it Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Bajpayee and many others reached out to me. Pankaj ji immediately called me to find out what’s the matter. After I told him, he called back again and said he has been able to arrange it. Then I saw that every house around me had patients and they were going through the same problem. So, I thought I have to do something. I am an actor I usually don’t get into other things but this time things were different. People who are approaching me, I am constantly trying to help them. Now, we have kind of built a team but there are cases where we lose the patient and it hurts. I lose sleep over it. In the past 7 days, 4-5 days have been such where I have slept only 3-4 hours.
After receiving the necessary medicines from Pankaj Tripathi, Vineet posted a tweet thanking him and said that though Pankaj as Sultan in Gangs of Wasseypur had shot him with a bullet (goli), in real life he has sent him medicines (goli).
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