Mumbai: Don’t believe in rumours, get vaccinated, say medical workers
Covid-19 inoculation drive for health workers, which kick started on Saturday, saw a lower than expected turnout. Around 50% of beneficiaries visited the 10 vaccination centres in the city. While all the centres had set a target of inoculating 500 people each on Saturday, only around 200 on an average reached the centres for their vaccination.
The vaccination process started from 11am after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed health workers across the nation.
Initially, some of the prime vaccination centres such as the one at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and RN Cooper Hospital at Juhu witnessed chaos due to overcrowding, which fizzled out later in the day.
While the overcrowding due to the presence of media persons, beneficiaries and medical staff at the centres did not deter the vaccination process, some mismanagement was reported which inconvenienced beneficiaries. Many beneficiaries said they were informed about the vaccination at the eleventh hour. This, however, was due to the snag reported in CoWIN application on Friday evening.
The beneficiaries appealed to the citizens to volunteer for vaccination when it starts and not believe in rumours.
With 10 booths at the vaccination centre in Cooper hospital, some beneficiaries faced inconvenience while some got emotional.
While the general public dealt with some bad situations during the lockdown, health workers witnessed numbers of Covid deaths and felt helpless most of the time: This is how Dr Naina Dalvi, anaesthesia professor and Covid ICU in-charge at Cooper hospital, recalls the initial days of the pandemic.
Dalvi was the fourth one to get vaccinated at Cooper hospital and has supervised the dry run carried out at the Cooper vaccination centre. “It was an emotional moment to get vaccinated. For the past 10 months, we have seen people dying. There were times when we were helpless. It was a painful situation. Today, I can see that battle coming to an end and nothing can be better than this,” Dalvi said who almost broke into tears.
On the other hand, Vitthal Pardeshi, mukadam at Nanavati Hospital, faced inconvenience as he had to wait for three hours after pulling all-nighters at his workplace. The 60-year-old commutes for two hours every day to reach his home in Kalyan. “I had reached at 9.30am and could only get vaccinated by 12.30pm. I stood for three hours in the queue and now I have to go home and come back to office for my 10pm-7am shift. It’s ridiculous,” Pardeshi said.
The turnout of beneficiaries was equally low at BKC centre. A couple of patients had also complained.
Dr Sachin Jain from Hinduja Hospital, Khar said, “I was informed in the morning at around 6.30am that I have to go out and get vaccinated at BKC on Saturday between 10am to 5pm. Hence, I went ahead and got myself vaccinated. I understand that even for BMC this is a new thing and we all are figuring it out, but I would appeal to everyone to go and get vaccinated.”
He added, “The vaccine has just launched, and I am sure that there are health workers who are anxious about getting vaccinated, but now is the time. The whole nation was waiting for the vaccine, and now when we have the vaccine, we should go ahead and get vaccinated.”
Dr Shashank Joshi from Lilavati Hospital and member of Covid-19 task force, another senior health worker who got vaccinated, said, “By keeping faith and trust on the government and scientists who have worked tirelessly to get us a vaccine, I appeal to all health and frontline workers along with citizens to go out and get vaccinated as the vaccine is rolled out for all.”
Dr Rajesh Dere, dean at BKC Covid-19 vaccination centre, said, “No adverse effect has been reported in any of the vaccine beneficiaries yet. But one 32-year-old health worker had reported anxiety post-vaccination. We counselled her, and she is fine now.”
He added, “Today we will vaccinate 500 volunteers considering it’s the first day. Gradually, from tomorrow, we will increase the capacity to vaccinate.”
Another health worker, Dr Gautam Bhansali from Bombay Hospital, said, “The year 2021 has come with the good news of vaccination. Hence, we should take it in a positive spirit by going ahead and getting vaccinated. Scientists have worked hard for the vaccine. Hence, citizens should not believe in any rumours.”
Present at the launch of Covid-19 vaccination drive, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray said, “I pray that this Covid centre remains vacant like it is now. I don’t want to do politics over Covid-19 vaccination. Citizens of all states should be equal and are equal for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, so there is no question of inequality.”
Meanwhile, municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, who also was also present at launch, said, “We have a capacity to store 10 million vaccines, and currently have the capacity to vaccinate 15,000 persons daily. This capacity will increase to over one lakh being vaccinated daily as private institutions will later be involved in the process.”