More staff, SOPs in line to get senior citizens to vaccination centres in Bihar
- The low footfall has prompted the state to mobilise more technical manpower so that senior citizens do not have to wait for vaccination.
Bihar struggled to get senior citizens and those with co-morbidities between 45 and 59 years of age to the Covid-19 vaccination centres. It could inoculate less than 1 per cent of the target group on the first four days of the third phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive.
The low footfall has prompted the state health department to mobilise more technical manpower through districts so that senior citizens were not made to wait for long for verification purposes before taking the vaccine shot. The government is also planning SOPs for elderly women who come to get vaccinated on International Women’s Day (March 8).
What also added to the disenchantment of the elderly was the delay in the verification on the CoWIN portal due to technical glitches and connectivity issues, which made the elderly wait for long.
“It takes less than a minute for the jab, but 3-5 minutes for verification on the CoWIN portal,” said a health official who did not wish to be named.
There is one person to verify the documents to authenticate the identity of the beneficiary and upload the medical certificate at a session site. It is this number that the health department plans to increase at session sites so that the vaccination turn-over time is reduced, the officer said.
The health department would rope in trained data-entry operators through district magistrates from the primary health centre level and use them for verification purpose to speed up the process at vaccination centres, he added.
At few session sites on Thursday, like the one at Patna’s Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), the drive was organised on the first floor, making it difficult for the elderly beneficiaries to climb the stairs. However, the same was shifted to the ground floor on Friday.
“We realised the difficulty some senior citizens had to face in climbing the staircase and I instructed my team to shift the session site for senior citizens on the ground floor,” said NMCH superintendent Dr Binod Kumar Singh.
The department was likely to issue instructions that session sites for senior citizens and those with co-morbidities be organised on the ground floor, while for healthcare and frontline workers it may be held on other floors.
The health department also encouraged healthcare workers to get their elderly parents and relatives for vaccination while also planning to offer some SOPs to elderly women who come to take the jab on March 8, International Women’s Day.
“We have asked all our healthcare workers to get their parents and elderly relatives for the vaccination. We are also planning to give token gifts to elderly women who want to take a jab on International Women’s Day,” said Dr Singh, NMCH.
Out of 1.09 crore target group of 60 years and above, Bihar had inoculated 17,749 beneficiaries, which was 0.16 per cent achievement between March 1 and 4. Similarly, out of 16 lakh people with co-morbidities in the 45-59 years age bracket, it managed to vaccinate 3,440, which was 0.21 per cent of the target at the end of day four of their vaccination on Thursday.
Efforts to reach Manoj Kumar, executive director of Bihar’s State Health Society, proved futile as he did not respond to phone calls or text messages.