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Less than 50% health workers turn up for second session of Covid-19 vaccination drive in Noida district

NOIDA: In what comes as a major setback to the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination drive, less than 50% of the listed health workers could be administered the shots on Friday in Gautam Budh Nagar district during the second session of the first phase of vaccination
By Sanjeev K Jha
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 12:10 AM IST

NOIDA: In what comes as a major setback to the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination drive, less than 50% of the listed health workers could be administered the shots on Friday in Gautam Budh Nagar district during the second session of the first phase of vaccination. Aimed to vaccinate as many as 4,200 health workers, Covishield could be administered to only 2,059 persons, the officials said.

According to the official figures, due to the low turnout of corona warriors at centres, 51 doses of vaccines became useless.

District chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Deepak Ohri said that while the vaccination portal was not running properly at most of the centres, in many areas the accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers didn’t turn up for their shots.

“The rural health workers are reported to be a bit apprehensive about the accuracy and efficiency of the vaccines. Their lukewarm response will certainly defeat the purpose of vaccination. However, we have been repeatedly requesting them to be vaccinated, without being afraid. Though all of them were informed about Friday’s drive on Wednesday, we can’t compel someone to be vaccinated” he said.

The CMO further said that problems in the vaccination portal were reported from almost all hospitals.

“Similar CO-WIN portal-related issues were identified during the inaugural day of vaccination. We have already informed higher officials about this problem. I hope that in the coming sessions of this drive, such problems will not occur,” he said.

He also said that as many as 51 doses of vaccines were destroyed as they could not be administered on time. “Each vial of vaccine has 0.5 ml of dose, sufficient for 10 beneficiaries. If it is not used within four hours of opening the vial, we have no option other than to destroy it. We had to destroy 17 doses on the inaugural session on January 16,” he said.

Dr Rakesh Gupta, director of the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), agreed that portal related issues slowed the vaccination.

“Due to this, we couldn’t administer vaccines to as many as 30 people. Had it been functioning properly, we could have achieved 100% of our stipulated target of 200 vaccinations on Friday,” he said.

However, many health workers took the vaccine shots enthusiastically, despite the low turnout. Margret Warner, the assistant nursing superintendent of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) hospital at Basai Darapur in New Delhi, said she saw a ray of hope when she received a message for vaccination from the district health department.

“Since I’ve been working in the Covid-dedicated ward of my hospital since last 10 months, I had no fear of the vaccine. I came to my allotted centre at the ESIC hospital, Noida, driving nearly 36 km. I am fine and am feeling no complications after the shot,” she said.

Echoing similar views, Dr Mrinal Sircar, the head of pulmonology and critical care department at Fortis Hospital, said after being vaccinated that after an eventful year of struggle with Covid-19, the vaccination can now script the end of the pandemic story.

“It is wonderful that the vaccination drive has come in just when Covid-19 numbers are falling, which will be a double barrel attack on the pandemic,” he said.

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