Health care workers queue up to get vaccinated at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi on Saturday.( )
Health care workers queue up to get vaccinated at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi on Saturday.( )

Health care workers in Delhi who skipped vaccine shot to be allotted another slot

With the vaccination drive launched on Saturday, around 8,100 healthcare workers in Delhi were slotted for the first day of the jabs. However, of these, just 4,319 (around 53%) turned up at the 81 vaccine centres in the Capital.
By Abhishek Dey, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 02:00 AM IST

Health care workers in Delhi who do not receive a Covid-19 vaccine shot despite being registered to get a dose will be allotted another slot, senior government officials said, as the administration looks to build confidence and minimise purported hesitancy among residents of the national capital.

“We have to work on building confidence. Those who do not turn up at vaccine centres in the first phase despite being registered will get another slot. However, we are yet to decide whether that window for healthcare workers should be accommodated before vaccination starts for frontline workers or after that,” said a senior official in the Delhi government who did not wish to be identified.

The official, who asked not to be named, said a health care worker’s name would be removed from the priority list, if they miss the second slot.

With the vaccination drive launched on Saturday, around 8,100 healthcare workers in Delhi were slotted for the first day of the jabs. However, of these, just 4,319 (around 53%) turned up at the 81 vaccine centres in the Capital. Around 240,000 healthcare workers in Delhi have been registered for the first phase of the drive, which will resume from Monday.

“The turnout figure in Delhi for the first day is at par with the rest of India. But the number is likely to increase in the days to come. The government is making its best efforts to ensure that,” Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain said in a press conference on Sunday.

According to data compiled from states by HT, 200,297 people across the country were vaccinated on Saturday, against an estimated 300,000 who were slated to receive their first dose of either the Covishield or Covaxin jab.

After healthcare workers, the vaccine will be given to front line workers, which include police officers, fire officials, home guards, sanitation employees, school teachers and employees of several agencies and departments that were engaged in Covid-19 management. Delhi has an estimated 600,000 front line workers, and the registration process for this category is underway.

The government will this week intensify its awareness drive to allay concerns regarding vaccination, said a second senior government official.

“Starting Sunday, all registered vaccine candidates will get a call from the district surveillance teams. The caller will try to engage with the candidate over potential risks, concerns and try to allay fears, if any.”

Currently, candidates receive text messages informing them of the date and time of the scheduled vaccination, as well as the location of the respective centre.

The second official said the government has also asked agencies and departments to start conducting group-counselling for their staff – largely frontline workers — to ensure they are ready to receive the vaccine when their turn arrives.

A senior doctor from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who asked not to be named, said, “There are some who are extremely excited about the vaccination drive. However, some others would like to wait and see what happens, and some who prefer to avoid getting immunised at the moment. The fears especially revolve around potential adverse effects — both short and long-term.”

On Saturday, Delhi recorded 51 instances of minor adverse reactions such as mild fever, rashes and swelling at the site of injection, while one recipient — an AIIMS staffer — suffered a severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, after receiving a dose of Covaxin. The staffer was admitted to hospital on Saturday, and discharged on Sunday, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria confirmed.

Dr Suneela Garg, professor of community medicines department at Maulana Azad Medical College, said, “With time, more people will turn up. Efforts are being made on several fronts to ensure confidence building and reduce hesitancy. For counselling drives in the days to come, the government can also take help of people who have been vaccinated and engage them in group discussions with potential candidates.”

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