Chennai

How RWAs are helping prevent vaccine wastage

Residents queue up at a vaccination camp organised by Nesamani Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association in Perumbakkam. Photo: Ravindran R  

By alerting those eligible for vaccination about a slot in a nearby Urban Primary Health Centre, resident groups in Chennai are making the inoculation drive more efficient and in the process, also checking wastage.

Sample this WhatsApp message that was doing the rounds among resident groups in and around Mylapore recently: “Second dose of Covaxin available at RK Nagar PHC today from 9 a.m. Please rush.

An elderly couple has been coming daily to this centre to take the second dose. However due to lack of numbers they are not opening the vial. If eight more people can join they can get vaccinated.”

Sukanya V, vice-president, Raheja Regency Owners’ Association, who received this message from V. Sreenivasan, an executive committee member of Raja Annamalaipuram Residents’ Association, says: “I do not know why we were not getting people, but I was trying the whole day circulating it among known groups. Finally, we managed to send three.”

Vaccination centres ideally wait for 10 recipients to make optimal use of a single 10-dose vial.

In the area of getting the requisite numbers to make sure every opened vial is optimally used, resident welfare association networks and rapport with UPHCs.

Seventy six-year-old V. Sreenivasan personally goes to the health centre at RA Puram to get the information about vaccine availability for the day.

“It is verified information with the permission of the PHC that I put out in the community groups of RA Puram and Mylapore,” says Sreenivasan, who undersigns his message as “RAPRA Sreenivasan”.

Recently, S Ganeshkumar, retired general manager of Indian Oil, profusely thanked Sreenivasan for his timely message in a WhatsApp group that helped his 33-year-old son get the jab though the Cowin portal displayed a disappointing “no slot available”.

ALSO READ: Queue management comes into focus at vaccination camps

At Sri Kapaleeswarar Nagar Residents Welfare Association on East Coast Road, L. Rajasekaran shares verified updates from two UPHCs — Injambakkam and Neelankarai.

Stumped by the fact that most health centres do not have a contact number, Rajasekaran contacted these UPHCs when he went to take the jab.

“I got my first and second dose from the Neelankarai and Injambakkam centres and I requested the nurses if they could give me updates on vaccine availability so that I could post the information in the Association’s WhatsApp group for others’ benefit,” says Rajasekaran, who shares the number of the healthcare professional in his messages for people to cross-check.

Early this March, when vaccination had just begun for those above 45 years, Sukanya found that a small hospital near their apartment in MRC Nagar was administering the vaccine and they were more than happy to give preference to residents of the community.

“Every time the doctor had excess shots, she would call me and I would put that information in the community’s WhatsApp group and share it with five other resident contacts of apartments near us,” says Sukanya.

“The healthcare professional usually calls me around 11 a.m. but there have been days when I received a call around 3 p.m. and she would tell me that the clinic would be open for another two hours and if I could spread the word,” says Sukanya.

Sukanya says that when the neighbouring apartments have a vaccination camp or when the drive happens in their own community and they are falling short of the numbers, these WhatsApp groups help spread the word.

“Four of our security guards got the jab when a camp was held at Hiranya Apartments, Greenways Road,” she says, adding that Raheja Regency has already conducted two camps.

“These networks help in two ways. One, by making sure vials are not wasted. And two, by making sure lower income groups are alerted whenever there is a free drive.”


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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 11:03:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/how-rwas-are-helping-prevent-vaccine-wastage/article34673150.ece

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