U.T. looks to step up volunteer participation in vaccine drive

The Health Department is looking to increase volunteer participation in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive across the Union Territory over the next week.

On day one of roll out on Saturday, only 274 healthcare staff took the first shot, in the four regions — Puducherry (150), Karaikal (15), Mahe (79) and Yanam (30).

Barring a stray case of a volunteer developing a rash at a centre in Mahe, no adverse reaction was reported, a health official said.

While the exercise is, at present, entirely governed through the Co-Win app, a walk-in mode for healthcare personnel is being considered to boost vaccine offtake. This comes amid the below-par participation, on the day of the launch, and reports of glitches in the Co-Win app from some areas in the country.

“Now that the vaccine stocks are with us and the infrastructure is in place, we should be ramping up the immunisation rate, especially given the stringent conditions of storage required to preserve the vaccine’s potency,” said S. Mohan Kumar, director of health.

A proposal is to opt for a more liberal process for volunteers to walk in to any of the designated vaccination centres and be administered their first shot. The Union Territory had received a stock of 1,750 vials, consisting of 17,500 doses of Covishield, ahead of the launch of the vaccination drive.

“If we are able to exhaust at least 50% of the stock in the next few days before the next consignment arrives, we can use the remaining doses for the second shot, after 28 days,” Dr. Kumar said.

The Health Department has scheduled further rounds of vaccination on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. During this phase, vaccination will be confined to healthcare staff. Administering centres are the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and Post Graduate Institute, the Rajiv Gandhi Government Women and Children’s Hospital, IGMCRI and CHC in Karikalampakkam, Puducherry, and the general hospitals in Karaikal and Mahe.

The next phase will target frontline workers and then those aged over 50 with co-morbidities. The Department is ready with logistics and trained personnel to operate 145 vaccination centres by the time the drive opens up for the people, an official said.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 5:59:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/ut-looks-to-step-up-volunteer-participation-in-vaccine-drive/article33596141.ece

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