Will set an example that the vaccine is safe, say Delhi’s 1st beneficiaries of Covid-19 jab
Most health care workers in the national capital who volunteered to take the first shot of the Covid-19 jab said they were doing it to set an example that the vaccine was safe, as the world’s largest immunisation programme against the coronavirus disease kicked off across the country on Saturday.
From sanitation workers to hospital administration clerks, from senior doctors to ambulance drivers, those who volunteered to take the vaccine shot said they would lead the way in inspiring confidence in the antidotes by defeating the virus.
Though civil defence volunteers and police personnel were posted outside Delhi’s 81 vaccination centres to manage crowds and keep intact law-and-order, there were no reports of any untoward incidents from any of these points.
Until Saturday evening, 4,319 of the scheduled 8,100 persons had got vaccinated in Delhi. Hospital authorities said some who were to get the jab said they were not in the city, or cited personal reasons. Authorities said the absentees could also be attributed to a glitch in the CoWIN app, and to people either being on duty or on leave.
“It could be because people wanted to wait and watch what happens. It could also be that some of them were on duty or in quarantine,” said a senior doctor from GTB hospital.
A senior doctor from Lady Hardinge Medical College said that a technical snag on Friday night resulted in fewer people turning up for vaccination. At Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, many doctors said they did not want to take a Covaxin jab, which the facility had received.
While only 32 workers were vaccinated at Lok Nayak hospital, 45 were given their first doses at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality (RGSS) hospital.
Each centre had a target of vaccinating 100 people on Saturday.
Dr Ajeet Jain, nodal officer of Covid-19 and cardio surgeon at RGSS hospital, “There is vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers despite conducting multiple counselling sessions.”
But those who visited the vaccination centres called the process “smooth and effective”. Those who received Covaxin doses had to sign a consent form since it is being administered under a clinical trial.
At most centres, health care workers, who received the vaccine shot on the first day, were welcomed by their colleagues with gift hampers and sweets. While a gift hamper with chocolates, chips, and juice were distributed at RGSS hospital, workers at Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital were greeted with sweets.
Several hospitals, including Max Hospital in Saket, decorated their premises to mark the first day of the vaccination drive.
On Saturday morning, the process started with the beneficiaries showing the SMS received on their phone regarding their appointment. This was checked by the civil defence volunteers deputed at the front desk by the office of the district magistrate of Central Delhi. The process also included noting the name, phone number of the beneficiary along with an additional phone number of a person close to the person, who would be informed in case of any side-effect.
Once verified with a photo identification document, beneficiaries were asked to sit in a waiting room while maintaining social distance. The beneficiaries then went inside and got the vaccine shots. After which they were sent to the observation room for 30 minutes to check on any possible symptoms.
“It took around 45 minutes for the entire process to get over. I can vouch for the vaccine as I feel no discomfort even 2 hours after taking the first shot. Each person who is getting vaccinated is being informed about the type of vaccine being administered before the injection,” said Dr Abhishek Bhowmick, 32, a senior resident doctor at Lok Nayak Hospital.
The hospital was inspected by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, state health minister Satyendar Jain, chief secretary Vijay Dev and health secretary Vikram Dev Dutt. Kejriwal also interacted with two beneficiaries, including Atmaja Priyadarshini Nayak, a nursing officer. “I was vaccinated in the presence of the chief minister. He also asked about my wellbeing. I have not witnessed any side-effect,” the 37-year-old said.
Biji Tony, a nursing officer in Lok Nayak hospital, was the first to get the Covishield vaccine at the state-run facility.
At Delhi state cancer institute, 46 healthcare workers were vaccinated on the first day. Dr Pragya Shukla, the nodal officer of vaccination at the institute and Head of Department (HoD) Clinical Oncology, volunteered to take the first shot at the institute. “I decided to take the first shot in an effort to inculcate confidence among my team members,” she said.
At around 12:20 am, health care and paramedical staff at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in Tahirpur welcomed their colleague Dr Akansha Rathore.A senior resident at the hospital, Dr Rathor had been on Covid-19 duty from the beginning of the outbreak. “I am proud and overwhelmed at the same time. I did not face any discomfort. I request people to not believe rumours and participate in the vaccination drive.”
RGSS hospital saw 45 vaccinations on day one. Dr Vikas Dogra, head of department of the school of pulmonology, was the first person to get the vaccine shot there. Vinish Kumar, 30, a nursing staff complained of some discomfort after the shot. However, he was immediately shifted to the emergency room for further observation. “Immediately after taking the shot, it felt as though my blood pressure had fluctuated. I informed the doctor and they immediately examined me. After staying in observation for an hour, I feel absolutely fine now. There is no discomfort anymore,” he said.
The vaccination process was smooth at Charak Palika Hospital (CPH), Moti Bagh, the only civic bodies run hospital designated for the vaccination in the first phase. Dr CK Bakshi, CMO coordination for Covid-19 activities in New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), said that the vaccines, received on January 15, were preserved on the hospital campus. “The vaccine drive commenced at 11.30 am on Saturday. One the first day we administered vaccine shots to 43 beneficiaries including doctors, nurses, paramedic staff, and other hospital staff. As many as 671 healthcare staff have volunteered to get inoculated at the hospital in the first phase,” he said.