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Decentralised vaccination plan helps cover over 1.46 lakh people in Pune

Pune: From just 31 vaccination sites where 1,802 health care workers (HCW) who were the first beneficiaries in phase one on day one (January 16), the district is now inoculating over 15,000 beneficiaries, including senior citizens and those with comorbidities at 122 sites
By Steffy Thevar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 04:54 PM IST

Pune: From just 31 vaccination sites where 1,802 health care workers (HCW) who were the first beneficiaries in phase one on day one (January 16), the district is now inoculating over 15,000 beneficiaries, including senior citizens and those with comorbidities at 122 sites. The administration has risen to the occasion as senior citizens stormed the vaccination sites in a fight against the infection.

Authorities and public are hoping to get the shot and win the Covid war, unlike last year during this time when they were unaware of the danger lurking around.

The district administration has now decentralised vaccination at multiple centres. Of these 71 locations, 44 are government and 27 are private hospitals and at two hospitals in the city, Kamala Nehru and Sassoon hospital, women special session was also planned.

With a population of over one crore in Pune district, if about 15,000 people are vaccinated per day then it would take about two years for the entire district to be vaccinated with the first dose, given that the supply of the dose is continuous and that everyone comes forward to take the jab.

However, the local administration has multiple limitations given that they have to strictly abide by the guidelines provided by the central government. Rubal Agrawal, PMC additional municipal commissioner, said, “We do not have any roadmap as of now regarding vaccinating the rest of the city as we are awaiting further instructions from the Centre. We have to follow the instructions. For now, we have to vaccinate those eligible under phase one and two and for that we are opening up more centres each day as there has been an enormous response from mainly senior citizens. Even non-empanelled private hospitals have shown interest in vaccinating people and we are sending out letters to the central government for permission.”

As of March 8, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) alone has begun vaccination at 71 locations which was only 4 on March 1. In view of the increasing demand, the session sites have been increased and at some hospitals multiple sessions are being conducted in two shifts.

A senior PMC official said, “We have 70 hospitals, including primary health centres and major hospitals, of which 45 have space for vaccination. We need three rooms for vaccination as per protocol — waiting room, vaccinating room and observation room. At some of our primary health centres construction is going on, some are the mobile clinics where we cannot do vaccination and also some are the smart city clinics. So, we can have maximum 45-47 PMC centres while the remaining would be private ones.”

In the rural areas too, the administration is ready to take up vaccination centres as and when needed. District collector Rajesh Deshmukh said, “As of Friday, we had 40 locations where we vaccinated about 5,040 beneficiaries, including first and second dose, as against our target of 4,000. We will further increase the vaccination centres if need be.”

The district has not seen any major adverse effects following immunisation (AEFI) since the first day, except in 2-3 cases where the beneficiaries had to be hospitalised as a precautionary measure. Also, since the beginning of phase two of the vaccination for senior citizens and those aged 45-59 years with comorbidities, not a single AEFI has been reported. This is boosting the morale of senior citizens as more are rushing to the vaccination centres.

Despite technical glitches which were reported earlier, citizens did not avoid vaccination. A huge response was seen for walk-ins at vaccination centres and even today (March 8) only nominal numbers are vaccinated through advanced registration while most prefer walk-in registration despite the administration’s appeal to prefer online registration.

As of Sunday, Pune continues to be the most affected district in the country with most active cases and accounting for almost one in every ten new Covid-19 cases. The spread of the infection and the possible fear of a second wave are also causing citizens to rush to vaccination centres where often the most vulnerable may face risk infection as social distancing norms are not followed at some centres. However, with such an enthusiastic crowd, the administration now has the challenge to meet up to their demands.

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