The Covid-19 vaccination centre at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar wears a deserted look on Sunday after the process was suspended till Tuesday. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
The Covid-19 vaccination centre at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar wears a deserted look on Sunday after the process was suspended till Tuesday. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Vaccine here, but don’t let guard down: Mumbai civic body

Immediate dip in daily case count unlikely, will take 3-4 months to see vaccine’s impact, say civic officials
By Mehul R Thakkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 05:23 PM IST

Though the vaccination programme against Covid-19 commenced in the city on Saturday, the civic body has maintained that the daily caseload might not decline immediately in the city.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), it will take three-four months to understand the effect of vaccination on the daily caseload. However, citizens must follow Covid-related precautions for the next six months at least, officials have said.

On Saturday, BMC started vaccinating the city’s healthcare workers. In Phase-2 of the vaccination drive, frontline workers will be immunised. BMC expects that the chances of potential silent spreaders among these two categories will go down, once the first two phases end. However, vaccinating these two groups will be a long process, and the virus will come under further control only after more population gets immunised.

“It will be very premature to draw a relation between the declining cases and the start of the vaccination process. On Saturday, we gave the first dose and the second one will be given 28 days later. It will take 14 more days after the second dose to develop antibodies. Hence, vaccination is a very long process. For three-four months, there will be no downward trend that can be attributed to the vaccination drive. For the next few months, wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing are the best practices to fight Covid-19,” said additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani.

On Saturday, BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had told reporters that citizens should not lower their guard despite the start of immunisation. “Citizens will be required to wear masks for at least another six months and follow hygiene and social distancing,” he said.

BMC plans to vaccinate 130,000 healthcare workers in Phase-1 of the vaccination programme. “After three months, we will be in a situation where at least 1.30 lakh would have been vaccinated. But this number is very small to conclude that the daily caseload will come down. The more we vaccinate, the more we will control the spread of the virus,” said a BMC official.

In the second phase, frontline workers such as police personnel, civic officials etc will be immunised. The third phase will target citizens aged above 50 as well as those suffering from comorbidities.

“Currently, Mumbai has the capacity to store 10 million vaccines, and we can vaccinate 15,000 people every day at our current capacity. But this number can go up to 100,000, if private institutions are involved in the vaccination,” said Chahal.

On Saturday, 1,926 health workers were vaccinated till 5pm, said BMC.

A total of 200 staffers, including 80 vaccinators, conducted the process and no untoward incident or adverse medical reaction was reported among the vaccine beneficiaries.

Officials were forced to suspend the vaccination drive due to glitches in the CoWIN app. “The drive is halted till Monday as the Centre is trying to fix the glitches in the CoWIN app used for the registration of vaccine beneficiaries. Once the glitches are resolved, we’ll be intimated about resuming the process by the state,” the official said.

Meanwhile on Sunday, the city reported 531 cases, taking the tally to 302,757. The toll surged to 11,244 after seven new fatalities were reported. The fatality rate is 3.85%.

The recovery rate stands at 93.7% after 283,845 patients have been discharged after Covid-19 treatment. There are 6,779 active cases in Mumbai.

Dharavi, one of the former hot spots that has shown signs of drastic improvement, recorded only 10 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, taking its tally to 3,890 total cases, of which 3,559 patients have been discharged.

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