Across the country, a large majority of the vaccinations done on Saturday were using the Covishield vaccine since that has one of the highest volumes of ready stock. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Across the country, a large majority of the vaccinations done on Saturday were using the Covishield vaccine since that has one of the highest volumes of ready stock. (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

India inoculates 220k individuals over two days of Covid-19 vaccination drive

According to officials, among the 207,229 who got doses on the first day, three people — or .0014% — had significant side effects. Of these three, two were hospitalised overnight and discharged the following day while one remained admitted as of late Sunday.
By Rhythma Kaul, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 12:48 AM IST

Six states carried out roughly 17,000 more coronavirus vaccinations on Sunday, the Union health ministry said, pegging the figure of total immunisations at 224,301 since the process began on Saturday morning.

According to officials, among the 207,229 who got doses on the first day, three people — or .0014% — had significant side effects. Of these three, two were hospitalised overnight and discharged the following day while one remained admitted as of late Sunday.

“None of the three had any serious adverse reactions post immunisation.They largely had fever, headache, nausea, etc. Only three people of all having experienced adverse reactions needed to be hospitalised, of which two have already been discharged,” said Manohar Agnani, additional secretary, health ministry, while updating on the Covid-19 vaccination drive that began in the country on Saturday.

Overall, a total of 447 adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were reported and most were mild side effects such as headache, nausea and low-grade fever.

The three who had significant side effects were each vaccinated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, the Northern Railways Hospital in the Capital and AIIMS, Rishikesh. The recipient in the Rishikesh facility was yet to be discharged.

According to separate officials at each of these facilities, who asked not to be named, AIIMS Delhi used Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin while the other two facilities used Serum Institute of India’s Covishield. Across the country, a large majority of the vaccinations done on Saturday were using the Covishield vaccine since that has one of the highest volumes of ready stock.

“There is a set protocol to deal with adverse events post immunisation that will be followed across the centres conducting vaccination sessions. Protocols are also in place for systemic investigation and causality assessment of serious AEFIs, which doesn’t end at hospitalising the recipient, rather it needs to be established whether the reaction happened due to vaccination or something else,” said Agnani.

According to the ministry, a majority of adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) are minor in nature: pain, mild swelling at injection site, mild fever, body ache, nausea, giddiness, and mild allergic reactions such as rashes, etc.

In Delhi, the state health minister said a large number of health workers who had been registered and identified for immunisations on the first day did not turn up, and that the administration will make efforts to encourage them to get their shots.

“We will hold counselling sessions to create awareness so that apprehensions of the health workers could be allayed.They will also be called on phones to seek their confirmation and also to encourage them to come forward for taking the vaccines,” a senior Delhi government official said, while asking not to be named.

On Saturday, only 53% of the 8,117 registered health workers scheduled for immunisations turned up.

“Some people decided not to turn up at the last moment. The vaccination programme is completely voluntary. We cannot ask anyone to compulsorily take the shot even if the person has registered for it,” said Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain earlier in the day, while adding that those that miss their appointments will be given a second chance.

The Union health ministry official said that the Centre has advised states to keep vaccination sessions four days in a week to avoid disruption of routine health services.

While all states participated in the Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, only six states did so on Sunday. In all, 17,072 more health care workers were vaccinated on Sunday at 553 sites.

The six that conducted vaccinations on Sunday are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur and Tamil Nadu.

States across the country have already disclosed their weekly schedules and on days there are holidays or routine immunisation drive planned, Covid-19 vaccines will not be administered.

Andhra Pradesh has opted for vaccinations six days a week because it has a robust system of a separate cadre for conducting routine immunisation, the Union health ministry official said. Some states have also gone for fewer than four days for coronavirus vaccinations.

“States that have decided to conduct vaccination session twice in a week is mainly because they have a small cohort of people to be vaccinated and those involved in vaccination activity, such as Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh,” said Agnani.

The country pulled off the highest number of Covid-19 vaccinations on day one in the world, the official added.

“It is higher than USA, the UK and France on day one. The Centre has held meetings with the states and Union territories today to review the progress made, and identify bottlenecks to plan corrective measures,” he added.

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