Updated: January 18, 2021 1:54:33 am
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said that some people did not turn up on the first day of the Covid-19 vaccination drive “at the last minute” and that the government could not force people to take the shot.
The city witnessed a turnout of 53.3% per cent on the first day of the drive, despite top experts and officials requesting people to, and assuring them that the vaccines were safe. The city had laid out a plan to vaccinate 8,100 people on the first day, but only 4,319 turned up. “Some decided not to turn up at the last moment. The vaccination is completely voluntary. We cannot ask anyone to compulsorily take the shot even if the person has registered for it. A similar trend was observed across the country,” he said.
One “severe” and 51 “minor” cases of AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) were reported among health workers who were administered the coronavirus vaccine in Delhi Saturday.
AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said a 22-year-old security guard had complained of palpitation and developed an allergic skin rash within 15-20 minutes of being inoculated. “His condition improved in the morning and his fever came down. He was later discharged,” said a senior AIIMS doctor.
According to experts, some healthcare workers were apprehensive about joining the vaccination programme. While many registered their names during the initial phase, several backed out on Saturday. In one such case, Rani Devi (48), a sweeper at Lok Nayak Hospital who was scheduled to be the first recipient of the vaccine, did not turn up.
Dr B L Sherwal, medical director of Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, where 45 healthcare workers were inoculated on the first day, said, “There is apprehension among healthcare workers since it is a new exercise. Apart from this, there were some issues regarding IDs and the CoWIN app… Perception regarding the vaccine will change in the coming days and we are hopeful that the number will go up.”
As per the plan, 100 healthcare workers were to be vaccinated at each site. However, only 32 were vaccinated at Lok Nayak, 31 each at RML and GTB, 26 at Lady Hardinge Medical College and 95 at AIIMS. Dr N N Mathur, LHMC medical director, said, “The numbers on the first day should not be considered as the only parameter of the overall vaccination mood. I have taken the vaccine at my centre; I hope people will come forward in the coming days.”
Jain said the number of vaccination centres in Delhi will be increased from 81 to 175 in the next few days: “Thereafter, it will be increased to 1,000. The Delhi government decided to omit vaccination centres of MCDs due to the ongoing strike by the staff. But we will now include MCD sites.”
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