Claps, cheers greet arrival of vaccine at Rajiv Gandhi super speciality hospital
Local residents and those who work at the nearby chemist shops clapped and cheered as a truck carrying a consignment of 264,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine entered the Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty hospital in east Delhi’s Tahirpur on Tuesday afternoon.
Several people who had gathered near the hospital gate said they knew by the heavy police deployment that the “corona vaccine is coming”. As the truck entered the hospital building with four police vans escorting it, many of those who were waiting on the road, clicked photos on their mobile phones.
Several hospital staff also clicked selfies when the vaccine was taken from the truck to the storage facility.
Hospital authorities said they received 22 boxes of Covidshield, Indian variant of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII). Each box has 1,200 vials and each vial has 10 doses. The hospital authorities are expecting a consignment of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin on Wednesday morning.
As the boxes were kept inside the facility, Delhi police placed barricades to stop outsiders from going inside. Police then formed a two-layer security ring to guard the vaccine -- one on gate number 3, which is the main gate of the hospital (near the storage facility) and another outside the facility where the vaccine was stored. At both the layers, police placed barriers to restrict movement of unauthorised persons. Within minutes of the vaccine reaching the hospital-- outside the facility but within the hospital complex -- there were several relatives of Covid-19 patients who had come to see the vaccine.
A gate (connected to the main road) used by outsiders until recently has also been closed so that there is no movement of outsiders near the facility.
“There is a temple and two churches outside the hospital. I saw many locals and patients of relatives praying once they saw the vaccine. This is what everyone was waiting for, “said Ramnishkit, 40, who runs a chemist outside the hospital.
A quick response team (QRT) of the Delhi police was also parked outside the hospital gate before the vaccine reached the hospital. Police officers posted at the spot said the QRT and other officers would be present at the hospital premises round-the-clock. As the quantity of vaccines increase, more police personnel will be posted, a police officer at the spot said.
Hospital director, professor Dr BL Sherwal said they are treating the vaccine like “gold”.
“We are treating the vaccine like gold. For its safety and security, we also informed Delhi police. The security here is round-the-clock. Our officers check temperature at the storage twice a day and note the findings. This is done to ensure that the temperature remains between 2-8 degree Celsius and that there is no fluctuation. There are CCTV cameras at every point. The building is also cut off from the other facilities inside the hospital to keep off outsiders,” Sherwal said.
Dr Chhavi Gupta, spokesperson of the hospital, said the freezers have an alarm system. “If the temperature falls or rises beyond a specific temperature, the alarm will go off. The vaccine will be transferred to another freezer within no time. It is monitored round-the-clock,” she said.
The first batch of transfer from the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital to over 80 storage points identified by the government is likely to start on Thursday. Officials said they are waiting for more vaccine doses to come.
Dr Sherwal added, “The storage unit has been specially chosen for its location. When vehicles come to deliver or take the vaccine, it can come or leave without getting caught in traffic on the road or having to manoeuvre to other parts of the hospital . Every part of the storage facility is visible and well-lit for security purposes. It is in safe hands.”