January 18, 2021 1:20:56 am
A total of 13,274 healthcare workers or 82 per cent of the targeted 16,100 beneficiaries were administered the first dose of Covishield vaccine — the Oxford University-AstraZenexa shot manufactured by Serum Institute of India — across the state Saturday, the first day of the inoculation drive.
The lowest turnout was recorded at Bhildi Community Health Centre (CHC) in Banaskantha, where only 23 frontline workers were vaccinated Saturday. The low turnout, a district-level official said, could be attributed to factors like a centralised system of beneficiaries’ list generation, a rudimentary Co-WIN application, and some health workers who had boycotted work over non-payment of salary since November last year.
“The (beneficiaries’) list was generated on January 12 at the district-level where they may not have an idea of the ground reality of who will get vaccinated and who won’t. This should have been decentralised to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) level so that medical officers could take immediate and dynamic decisions on the same,” an official, who did not wish to be named, said.
The Co-WIN application, a cloud-based internet technology platform, also saw minor glitches on the first day. The problems related to issues such as updating the beneficiary list in cases where some of the scheduled 100 recipients did not show up, the official said.
“Even on the app, one cannot search for a registered name, unless we have the details of the exact date when they registered on. We had to browse for such names manually,” the official added. The Co-WIN app has been designed to ease the process of verification and registration of over thirty million health care workers in the country, avoid hoarding and ensure vaccination of only verified job beneficiary.
The turnout was especially affected in the areas where health workers refused to be vaccinated as a mark of their protest against non-disbursement of 2-month salary. “However, this was only the first day. We are working in rectifying these bottlenecks,” the official said. The official added that the grant has been now received for paying the salaries and is expected to be processed within the next two days.
Of the five vaccination centres in Banaskantha district, the Banas Medical College and Nandotra PHC saw 100 per cent vaccination on day one.
The district-level official said they have urged the state government to decentralise the beneficiary listing process and increase the vaccination sites. “We have proposed that since we already have several other sites ready, instead of having just five sites across Banaskantha district, it will perhaps be more effective if more sites are added,” the official said.
Meanwhile, in areas under the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, a total of 1,795 healthcare workers, up from the 1,115 that was estimated Saturday, were vaccinated across the 20 sites on the first day of the drive. This was, however, short of its target of vaccinating 2,000 people.
At 16 sites located within the city limits, including Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, SVP Hospital, Sola Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS) Hospital, the target of inoculating 100 beneficiaries were met, officials said. Remaining four sites were community health centres.
Nayan Jani, the state immunisation officer with the health department, told The Indian Express Sunday, “We managed to achieve our targets in hospitals. Most of the sites where we fell short of the target were community health centres. The CHCs usually have only around 30 healthcare staffers at the site as against a higher number of workers in hospitals.”
At Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, where one of the vaccination sites was set up at the new trauma centre building had recorded 56 beneficiaries until 4 pm on Saturday, saw an uptick to finally meet with the set target. According to an official, the change in data was primarily because “the data of those vaccinated was initially compiled from the Co-WIN application, where all registrations were not reflecting. There were stretches when the application was not working”.
“Many also could not be registered on the application at the time. Some others, who were listed for the vaccination, did not show up so we called for other health workers to get vaccinated. These separate data sets were finally compiled and hence the change in figures,” the official added.
A similar trend was reported across multiple centres.
Speaking at the sidelines of a separate event Sunday, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “I’m pleased to say that a major part of our target of vaccinating 100 health workers at each of the 161 vaccination centres in Gujarat was achieved (on Saturday). Nowhere did we fall short of the target. Nearly 85 per cent of our target was met.” <
Among those vaccinated were some senior-most doctors who took the shot to encourage others, he added.
“While I’m not politicising the event (of vaccine drive), but at a video-conference of health ministers of all states with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Saturday evening, health ministers from Congress-ruled or other opposition party-ruled states too appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s well-organised drive and congratulated his initiative,” Patel said.
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