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Odisha health workers say they will not take the vaccine

As Odisha government gears up for its mass vaccination programme from Saturday, about 15,000 health workers have threatened not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Members of the Odisha State Male and Female Multipurpose Health Workers and Health Supervisors’ United Association alleged that they had been completely ignored in the matter of career progression.

“The State government has given greater importance to doctors, clinical staff and staff nurses by effecting cadre-restructuring,” said Rabindra Nath Pradhan, General Secretary of Odisha State Male Multipurpose Health Workers’ Association.

“For the past 10 years, we have been pleading with the State government to change the service rules. All other government employees who joined at the same time have been given five to seven promotions. We have got only one,” he said. “In the COVID-19 pandemic, our field level staff worked tirelessly. We helped draw samples, participated in community door-to-door screening and guarded different care centres. And yet, we have been completely ignored.”

The associations had given written representations twice in the past three months. But they were not invited for discussions on the issue, their members said.

Many association members have reportedly received messages to get vaccinated on Saturday. They said they would not take the shot, though they would participate in the vaccination programme.

Meanwhile, Odisha government said vaccination would take place in over 160 centres across the State on Saturday, but the exercise would be paused for a day on Sunday, January 17. Odisha has identified 3.28 lakh COVID-19 warriors, mostly frontline health workers, for priority vaccination.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 5:44:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/odisha-health-workers-say-they-will-not-take-the-vaccine/article33584364.ece

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