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Senior docs told to take Covid shots as vaccination number falls

New Delhi A little less than half the number of people scheduled to get the Covid-19 vaccine jabs on Tuesday turned up at their designated centres, prompting some hospitals to ask the head of departments to take the shot themselves and motivate those working under them to do the same
By Abhishek Dey and Anonna Dutt
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 11:54 PM IST

New Delhi

A little less than half the number of people scheduled to get the Covid-19 vaccine jabs on Tuesday turned up at their designated centres, prompting some hospitals to ask the head of departments to take the shot themselves and motivate those working under them to do the same.

With 4,936 beneficiaries receiving the shot, Delhi saw the highest turnout in terms of absolute numbers on Tuesday. However, the number only accounted for 48.75% of the 10,125 health care workers who were scheduled to get the jabs, with the government having increased the number of beneficiaries each of the 81 sites could vaccinate, data seen by HT suggested.

In comparison, 4,319 people had received the jab on Saturday – the day the nation-wide roll-out happened – accounting for 53.3% of the beneficiaries selected to receive the vaccine.

On Tuesday, the turnout was much higher for the centres administering Serum Institute’s Covishield – 50.6% — when compared to the centres administering Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – 27.4%, as per data.

With more centres administering Covishield, 15 of the 16 adverse reactions noticed were in those who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot on Tuesday. All the adverse events were minor ones such as rashes, headaches, and fever.

In the three days since launch, 12,853 health care workers have taken the shots, out of a targeted 26,397, government records showed.

Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said, “The current turnout is not low if one compares it with other states and the overall average in the country. Confidence building will take some time. The Delhi government is leaving no stones unturned in confidence building drives and increasing the turnout ratio in vaccination centres.”

On Tuesday, the CoWIN app was tweaked, allowing the ‘add beneficiary’ option to incorporate walk-in immunisation for registered health care workers leading to an increase the number of people getting vaccinated across the city.

Max hospital, Saket, and BL Kapur hospital both saw 100% immunisation on Tuesday. The number of people who received the vaccine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences jumped to 55 on Tuesday from just eight a day ago.

Hospitals that have consistently seen low turnout, like Guru Teg Bahadur hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital , asked its senior faculty members to come forward and take the shot.

“The hospital has issued a circular asking senior doctors and administrators to take the shot and motivate those working under them also to take it. Four of the senior doctors from the hospital received the shot today. This should instil confidence about the vaccine, among others,” said a senior doctor from Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, which had seen 24 people being vaccinated on Monday and 28 on Tuesday.

A similar communication was sent to doctors at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital in Tahirpur as well. “The glitches in the app did create problems, but it is the hesitancy in the minds of the people that is leading to a low turnout at the hospital. So, we have asked senior doctors to lead by example and motivate those working under them to also take the vaccine,” said a senior doctor from the hospital, on condition of anonymity. There were just nine people vaccinated at the centre on Tuesday, down from 20 people vaccinated on Monday.

Of the 11 revenue districts in Delhi, the highest turnout (62.18%) was in south-east Delhi, where 638 of 1026 targeted beneficiaries were vaccinated, closely followed by the north-west district (61.72%) where 899 out of 1,457 targeted beneficiaries were vaccinated.

Shahdara district vaccinated 169 (27.25%) of a total registered group of 620 persons -- the lowest among the 11 districts, showed government data.

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