Health care workers of Kalawati Saran Hospital waiting at the observation area after being vaccinated against Covid-19 on Monday. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Health care workers of Kalawati Saran Hospital waiting at the observation area after being vaccinated against Covid-19 on Monday. (Amal KS/HT PHOTO)

Vaccine turnout drops to 44% on Day 2, just 8 given shots at AIIMS

The data shared by the government showed that on the second day of the drive, conducted between 9am and 5pm Monday, a total 8,136 health-care workers were to be inoculated, but only 3,598 actually got the jabs. The remaining days for Covid-19 vaccination this week are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
By Sweta Goswami, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 02:43 AM IST

Only 3,598 health-care workers – about 44.2% of those selected to be inoculated on Monday-- turned up for the Covid-19 vaccination drive, registering a drop of nine percentage points from the Day One (Saturday) of the immunisation campaign in the city, while only eight people were administered the jabs at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on the day.

The data shared by the government showed that on the second day of the drive, conducted between 9am and 5pm Monday, a total 8,136 health-care workers were to be inoculated, but only 3,598 actually got the jabs. The remaining days for Covid-19 vaccination this week are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were reported in 26 beneficiaries (0.72%). Two of them were categorised as “severe” with one beneficiary in east Delhi’s Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital requiring hospitalisation.

On Saturday, the first day of the drive, a total of 4,319 (53.3%) of the 8,117 selected health-care workers received the Covid-19 vaccine in Delhi. There were 52 AEFI cases on Day One, with one hospitalisation at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

If looked at vaccine-wise, the AEFI cases on Monday were from Covishield doses, which are being used as the primary vaccine in Delhi and are being administered in 75 of 81 centres across the city. The turnout for the Covishield vaccine was 44.5% on Monday, whereas that for Covaxin was 40%, according to the data provided by the government.

Apart from the general vaccine hesitancy, senior government officials attributed the low turnout to glitches in the Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-Win) app, which they said failed to send out text messages (SMSes) to a majority of the beneficiaries selected at random by the app.

A Delhi government spokesperson did not comment on the reasons for the low turnout on Day Two.

Of 11 districts in Delhi, the highest turnout (55%) was in east Delhi, where 273 of 500 selected beneficiaries were vaccinated. This is quite lower than the highest turnout of 71.44% reported in the south district on Saturday.

The second-highest turnout on Day Two (Monday) was in the south-east district where 420 (53%) of the 800 health-care workers were given the first dose. The Shahdara district vaccinated 163 (27%) of a total registered group of 600 persons -- the lowest among the 11 districts.

Senior health officials said the low turnout was also because of glitches in the Co-Win app because of which at least two vaccination centres – Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College – were forced to allow beneficiaries on a “walk-in” basis.

“There were login issues with the Co-Win app. Other than that, the app is still not sending SMSes to all beneficiaries it randomly selects each day for the vaccination. Hence, fewer health-care workers were turning up. After we communicated the problem to the district administration, they allowed us to accept health-care workers on a walk-in basis. As a result, the number of vaccinations improved at our hospital on Monday compared to Saturday,” said a senior official at Lady Hardinge Medical College. The number who got the jab increased from 26 on Saturday to 76 on Monday at the hospital.

Similarly, RML vaccinated 69 health-care workers on Monday, compared to 31 on Day One.

Dr Ravinder Pal Dhingra, the nodal officer of Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya in east Delhi said their staff are personally calling all selected beneficiaries to inform them about their turn.

“The auto-generated text message system is still not in place properly. Our staff members have to divide the 100 numbers among themselves and call each one on each immunisation day,” he said.

Dhingra said there is also a hesitancy among senior health -care workers to get the shot.

“Those who are close to 50 years and have co-morbidities are showing reluctance to get the jabs. Some with co-morbidities have expressed fears that the vaccine could worsen their condition. So, we have now appointed a dedicated counsellor who is talking to such people and clearing their doubts and dispelling myths and rumours,” he said.

Low turnout at AIIMS

Meanwhile, an official at AIIMS said the low turnout at the central government-run hospital, could be related to multiple factors, including apprehensions of adverse events and late notifications through the Co-WIN app.

A security guard of the hospital who received the shot on Saturday suffered anaphylaxis and was admitted to the facility. He was discharged on Sunday.

“Also, those who had refused on Saturday were again included in the list and they did not turn up again on Monday. Around 20 people had turned up at AIIMS, of which some had fever while others had history of allergies, only eight beneficiaries received the shots,” the source said.

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