Medical professionals check vaccine vials at Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital
Medical professionals check vaccine vials at Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital

Hospital staff upbeat a day before first jabs

Staff and technicians at Lok Nayak hospital worked till late evening on Friday to ensure that the vaccination drive on Saturday goes without a hitch. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will flag off the vaccination drive from the hospital at 12 noon.
By Anonna Dutt, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 04:20 AM IST

Three women, who helm a leading private hospital in Delhi, one of the first to start treating the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients, are all set to mark a crucial milestone in their fight against the global pandemic — the hospital is one of 81 centres in the national capital where the nationwide vaccination drive will kick off at 10.30am on Saturday. Their collective fight, the women managers said, is finally drawing to a close.

The 250-bed Max Smart Hospital in Saket was converted into a dedicated Covid-19 centre on May 9 and now that the Covid patients are fewer and far between, the hospital has gotten the nod to restart non-Covid services in 102 beds. The hospital will start inoculating its staff members at one of the three sites on its premises on Saturday.

“With the hospital ready to vaccinate its staff and open its doors to non-Covid patients, it feels like Covid-19 is finally coming to an end. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were three phases in our fight against the infection. First, was in January, when we had first set up a screening centre; as the disease was not even in India people wondered what we were doing. Second, was when hospitals started getting overwhelmed with the number of Covid patients and people started following all precautions. And, the third, is this,” said Bindu Sharma, assistant general manager, Saket Max Smart Hospital.

Nursing head Manju Devi said this was the beginning of the end of all struggles -- of staying away from loved ones; living in fear of contracting the deadly virus; of dealing with the loneliness felt by patients admitted to the Covid wards who could not speak to their family members.

The team, led by medical superintendent Dr Sahar Qureshi, however, managed to save countless lives and will now be among the first ones in India to receive the vaccine shots.

Her sentiments were echoed by Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director, Lok Nayak hospital. “It is like a long-awaited festival for us,” he said.

Staff and technicians at Lok Nayak hospital worked till late evening on Friday to ensure that the vaccination drive on Saturday goes without a hitch. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will flag off the vaccination drive from the hospital at 12 noon. A doctor, a nurse, and a safai karmachari will receive the jabs in the presence of the CM, according to sources.

Two large halls have been created in the middle of the out-paient seating space for the inoculation drive. Alternate seats on the blue coloured sofas have been crossed out using white medical tape to ensure social distancing between recipients.

Another of at least three vaccination sites at the hospital has been set up on the first floor of the outpatient department. Two rooms with oxygen support and all emergency medications have been created at the site itself for managing any adverse event. The vaccines reached the hospital on Friday afternoon and were stored in deep freezers on the fifth floor of the same building, doctors said.

“We are fully prepared for the vaccination drive and all our staff are very excited. They have been treating the very sick Covid-19 patients since last March,” said Dr Kumar.

At Safdarjung Hospital, red arrows from the Ring Road gate marked the way to the vaccination site on the first floor of the old emergency building. The three room site was abuzz with activity on Friday afternoon. Across the road, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will flag off the drive at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

With nearly 67,000 tests, Delhi reported 295 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, the lowest number recorded in a day since May 9, when the city had seen 224 cases.

This has also brought down the positivity rate – proportion of samples that return positive among total tested – to 0.44%, the lowest ever since the state government began releasing regular testing data.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off India’s massive vaccination exercise at 10.30am on Saturday, when 81 sites in Delhi will start immunising their health care workers. Each centre aims to immunise 100 persons

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