Healthcare workers receive a dose of Covishield Covid-19 vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, at Nair Hospital in Mumbai, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Healthcare workers receive a dose of Covishield Covid-19 vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, at Nair Hospital in Mumbai, on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Private hospitals in Mumbai sensitise staff about the need for Covid-19 vaccination

To encourage healthcare workers (HCWs) to get inoculated, major private hospitals in the city are sensitising staffers about the importance of getting vaccinated
By Rupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 11:56 PM IST

To encourage healthcare workers (HCWs) to get inoculated, major private hospitals in the city are sensitising staffers about the importance of getting vaccinated. Additionally, hospitals are adjusting work schedules of HCWs so that they are able to meet their appointed dates of vaccination.

In the city, in the last four days of the vaccination, only 61.24 % of the shortlisted HCWs got inoculated. Out of the 14,352 HCWs who were called for vaccination, only 8,790 of them showed up on their assigned dates.

Around 1.30 lakh HCWs in Mumbai have registered on the Covid vaccine intelligence network (CoWIN) app, which is monitoring the vaccination drive, and of them, 70,000 are employed at private hospitals.

Private hospitals in the city said not even 50% of registered HCWs are getting inoculated. “One of the main reasons for low turnout is the lack of knowledge and the right information about the vaccines among potential beneficiaries. Due to technical glitches in the CoWIN application, the turnout has been badly affected. But people are interpreting it in a negative light,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician at Bombay Hospital.

To address questions and clear doubts about vaccination among HCWs, many senior officers and heads of departments at hospitals are getting inoculated first. Dr Ravishankar, chief executive officer (CEO) of Lilavati Hospital, got the vaccine on Wednesday. “Since the day I have taken the vaccine, many of our in-house HCWs have been motivated [to do the same]. Many people who had doubts about the efficiency of the vaccine have now decided to take it,” he said.

Several private hospitals are disseminating information about the need to get vaccinated through hospital WhatsApp groups. “We have been holding awareness workshops to sensitise staffers. Raising awareness among HCWs is the need of the hour. We need to bust myths among the public through face-to-face counselling and social media,” said Dr Harish Shetty, a city psychiatrist who got the vaccine on January 16, the first day of the vaccination drive.

Many doctors are raising awareness among their peers by doing webinars, and some hospitals are providing alternative shifts to HCWs to accommodate vaccine appointments. “For the convenience of staffers, we are also adjusting their shifts and timing as per their appointment date of the vaccination,” said Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO of Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital.

On Thursday, the Association of Hospitals, a trust comprising private hospitals, wrote to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) seeking permission to vaccinate staff in their premises. “We have 2,100 HCWs, so if we get permission to vaccinate them, we can get them inoculated within a week. This will save time for HCWs to travel to distant vaccine centres for inoculation and secondly, it will increase the turnout, which will boost public confidence,” said Dr Bhansali.

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