Delhi: Minor tweaks lead to major jump in overall Covid-19 vaccinations
The Covid-19 vaccination centres across Delhi have witnessed sharp increase in turnout over the last four days after the government resorted to minor protocol changes, apart from investing on campaigns that contributed to confidence building among beneficiaries.
According to senior government officials, the measures introduced include out-of-turn vaccine shots, for not only those beneficiaries who are allotted slots on future dates, but also those who missed their shots for some reason, informally allowing centres to exceed the cap of 100 shots per day on ensuring full compliance, and letting beneficiaries take their shots in any centre that is convenient for them instead of the ones in which they were registered.
Delhi has an estimated 300,000 health care workers, of which 240,000 have registered for vaccination, said government records. So far, 25,762 of them – out of a targeted 42,578 – have been inoculated in five days, government data said, reflecting an overall turnout rate of 60.5%.
“The walk-in process, or the out-of-turn window for jabs, have been opened for all since Saturday. Now, people who are registered for future dates as well as those who have missed their vaccines can voluntarily approach a centre any day to check availability of slot and get vaccinated,” said a government official in the health department.
The official further said, “Several vaccine centres are also taking the liberty of administering more than 100 shots per day, even though there is no official directive in this regard yet. In such cases, the centres have to take permission from the district magistrate’s office and assure 100% compliance along with social distancing .” Delhi has 81 vaccination centres, which are functional between 9 am and 5 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“As far as the provision regarding allowing beneficiaries to take shots in any centre is concerned, the centres have to update the master file to ensure there is no double counting. They also have to ensure that a person’s name is enlisted for a reminder for the second dose in 28 days. Several centres have allowed this facility since Saturday,” said another official.
On Saturday, the city recorded a turnout of 86% at its centres – the highest for a single day since the drive was launched on January 16. Also, in a first, two (out of 11) revenue districts in logged 100% turnout on Saturday. Delhi recorded vaccination turnout of 53% on January 16, 44.2% on January 18, 48.8% on January 19, and 73.4% on January 21.
Dr Suneela Garg, director professor of community medicines department at Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi and member of the Lancet Covid-19 commission and vaccination task force for India, said “More vaccination centres should be set up. The state government is working on a proposal regarding this. Timely policy tweaks have helped. The provision to allow centres to administer more than 100 shots has been discussed.”
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