Covid-19 vaccine drive Day 1: 50 vaccinators inoculate hundreds in Mumbai
On Day One of the nationwide mass Covid-19 immunisation programme, around 50 vaccinators inoculated hundreds of healthcare workers (HCWs) in the city. For a majority of vaccinators, most of whom were nurses attached to the hospital’s immunisation centres, administering a jab felt like a personal victory against Covid-19.
For the last 10 months during the ongoing pandemic, these vaccinators have witnessed the deadly outbreak of coronavirus very closely, while taking care of infected patients.
Janhavi More, 52, was stationed at BYL Nair Hospital on Saturday as a vaccinator. Her husband contracted the virus on July 23 and was admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Karuna Hospital, Borivli. After five days, he was moved out of ICU. “I know the feeling when your loved ones contract the virus. Now, with a vaccine in my hand, I feel that we have won the battle against the virus,” said More.
Shraddha More, who was among three vaccinators stationed at the government-run Sir JJ Hospital, also witnessed the virus close at hand. In April, her husband had contracted the virus and was hospitalised for a week.
“We have come a long way. Today, I felt like the goddess Durga, weaponed with Covid-19 vaccine in my hands,” she added.
The vaccinators were thrilled and excited to provide vaccines to HCWs. Some even visited temples before going to their immunisation centres. Rucha Salgaonkar, in-charge of nurses at Nair Hospital and one of the vaccinators at the hospital said, “It is an emotional day for us. We have worked tirelessly for months. In the initial days of the pandemic, we didn’t even go home to our family to maintain social distance. We have seen patients die before our eyes. So, this is an extremely important day for us.”
Though the vaccinators have years of experience inoculating lakhs of children up to five years, they were trained by the state health department before starting the mass immunisation programme. Sweta Rane from Shatabdi Hospital, Kandivli, said, “We have also been trained to identify and take care of beneficiaries, in case they develop any adverse reaction, like allergy or dizziness, and to respond to queries posed by beneficiaries.”
However, it was the first time on Saturday that they vaccinated adults with a new vaccine. When asked, Rane said that it was nothing different from the routine immunisation process, except that the vaccine was new.
However, vaccinators also observed anxiety and anticipation among some HCWs about taking the vaccine. “When we vaccinate children, their level of acceptance is high. But among adults, some were sceptical about the vaccine and asked us different questions about safety rules. But overall, the response has been quite promising,” said Janhavi.
Joyas Thanchand, a vaccinator stationed at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital said they had to counsel a few anxious beneficiaries during the immunisation process. “I wish to get vaccinated soon. As a healthcare worker who has worked closely with Covid-19 patients, it is my responsibility to boost confidence among the public and encourage them to take the vaccine,” said Janhavi.