After almost a year of restricting themselves to home over COVID-19 fears, senior citizens in Telangana took frail steps towards a relatively normal life as their turn for vaccination came up on Monday. After healthcare workers and frontline workers, the Health department is now vaccinating common people aged 60 years and above, and those in the 45-59 year age group with co-morbidities.
Some elderly persons walked to the vaccination centres at private hospitals while others relied on walking sticks or wheelchairs. Most of them were accompanied by a family member.
Among the oldest persons to take the vaccine in Hyderabad was 100-year-old Jaidev Chowdhry, a former entrepreneur. He took the jab at Medicover Hospitals, opposite the State Secretariat.
The jabs are offered free of cost at government hospitals.
If one choose to get the jab at a private hospital, they have to pay ₹150 per dose, and a maximum of ₹100 service charge. One can either register for the vaccination online (cowin.gov.in), or by simply walking into the vaccination centres with government-issued photo identity cards.
While online registration opened on Monday morning, senior Health officials said they received complaints about technical glitches during registration. There were instances of people not receiving one-time password (OTP) to initiate the registration process or getting a confirmation message after registering.
The turnout at government hospitals remained low, while it surged at corporate hospitals during afternoon hours.
A common question asked at the vaccination centres was about the brand of vaccine being administered since people are not being given a choice in this matter.
Waiting for their turn was a test of patience for many. Rajendra Prasad, 83, had to wait for over an hour at Care Hospitals, Banjara Hills. He said the process of registration was fairly simple.
Also in the queue was C.V. Raghavulu, an 80-year-old retired vice-chancellor. So far, he has managed to steer clear of COVID-19 as he remained confined to home and observed precautions.
Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao said antibodies will be generated two weeks after the first dose and that vaccine recipients will be fully protected within 42 days of the initial jab. The vaccine is to be taken in two doses with a gap of 28 days.