City all set for first day of inoculation drive

Red carpet being laid out at the vaccination site in Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi on Friday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

From showering flower petals on vaccine boxes reaching the hospitals to posters reading “COVID-19 vaccine is safe” and a hand-picked list of 100 persons who would be administered the first dose at each of the 81 sites, Delhi is all geared up for Saturday, the first day of the vaccine roll-out.

Vaccine doses have reached many of the hospitals and in some cases, the linked government facilities close to them. Directions have been given to inoculate only healthcare workers below 50 years of age on the first day. Officials played down apprehensions about the vaccine saying it’s “completely voluntary”.

Earlier this week, vaccine vials from the airport had reached the central vaccine store at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH). From there it went to the district vaccine stores, one in each of the 11 districts, and then to the 81 hospitals.

Each vaccination site has three rooms: one for waiting, a second where the vaccination actually happens and an observation room where the people who have been vaccinated have to wait for 30 minutes to see if there is any adverse effect following immunisation (AEFI).

A beneficiary’s documents will be first checked to ensure that her name is on the list before entering the waiting area. Before the inoculation, her details will be checked on the CoWIN (COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network) platform where it has already been entered.

There will be a separate team at each vaccination site to handle any possible AEFI and the person will be moved to a separate area in the hospital if required.

At 9.30 a.m. on Friday, red carpets were being laid at the vaccination site in RGSSH and the authorities were setting up a pre-waiting area outside the building to avoid crowding. There are also four LED screens where people would be able to watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the pan-India roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination drive at 10.30 a.m. via videoconference.

When asked if healthcare workers are apprehensive, Namrata Makkar, Deputy Medical Superintendent of the hospital, said, “People are aware about the vaccine, but there is a little apprehension. But we trust our government and they have been hand-holding us since the beginning of the pandemic.”

She said that the hospital has not issued any instructions to the 100 selected persons that they should take the vaccine on Saturday. “We didn’t even hold a meeting of these beneficiaries, so that they do not feel any pressure,” she said.

But officials said that since the list of 100 beneficiaries have been chosen by hospitals for the first day and not randomly selected by the CoWIN platform, they expect not too many persons to back out on Saturday.

At the district vaccine store of East Delhi, the vaccine vials have been kept in an Ice Lined Refrigerator (ILR) that is locked. The temperature inside the ILR is periodically noted manually on a chart hung outside. “We check the temperature from the display outside the ILR and also from the thermometer inside the ILR to make sure that it is in the range of 2 to 8 degrees,” said an official.

The vaccine vials are taken from here to hospitals in cold boxes, whose insides are lined with treated ice packs.

At Lok Nayak Hospital, around 2.30 p.m. Medical Director Suresh Kumar and others showered flower petals on a blue-coloured cold box inside a van ferrying the first set of vaccine vials to the hospital.

“The last eight to nine months was a struggle with many of our staffers getting infected by the virus and three of our colleagues dying because of it. We are thrilled that the vaccination is starting,” he said.

At the vaccination site in the hospital were posters reading “COVID-19 vaccine is safe”. The authorities have prepared the first floor of a building to conduct the vaccination drive.

“In case of an AEFI, there is an entire medical team ready and they have been equipped with drugs, oxygen cylinders and a ventilator,” said Dr. Amit Gupta, the supervisor of the vaccination site.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain are scheduled to inspect Lok Nayak Hospital at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

The vaccination will take place four days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After finishing the targeted 2.4 lakh healthcare workers, the government will start with front-line workers, including police personnel and teachers.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 7:27:00 AM |

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