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Cyclone Tauktae: Covid-19 vaccinations to remain suspended today, BMC to launch pilot project to ‘streamline’ immunisation

After several complaints of confusion, mismanagement and CoWIN glitches, the BMC has introduced a pilot project to streamline the immunisation drive.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: May 16, 2021 10:32:23 pm
Alliances like GAVI and COVAX are what real collective security means now. They are here to ensure that humans respond to the attack of the virus collectively. (File)

DUE TO a warning of heavy rainfall due to cyclonic storm Tauktae in Mumbai, the Covid-19 vaccination drive will remain suspended on Monday. The BMC said the drive will resume from May 18. Following new guidelines issued by the health ministry, however, those awaiting the second dose of Covishield will be eligible only after May 23.

As a safety precaution, vaccinations in Mumbai were suspended for Saturday and Sunday after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning that Mumbai, Thane and Raigad were likely to receive heavy rain at isolated places due to the influence of Cyclone Tauktae. The impact is likely to remain on the city till Monday.

“In view of the warning of high intensity cyclone issued by IMD, the vaccination programme scheduled on Monday (May 17) stands cancelled,” said municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, on Sunday.

Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer of the BMC, said from May 18, due to fresh guidelines issued by the health ministry directing that the gap between first and second doses of Covishield should be 12 to 18 weeks, the civic body will administer the first dose of Covishield to beneficiaries aged above 60 through walk-ins. Covaxin will be given only to beneficiaries seeking a second dose, Dr Gomare added.

On Sunday, the health ministry issued revised guidelines stating that beneficiaries, who have previously booked online appointments through CoWIN for a second dose, can get a jab. For Covishield, the gap between first and second dose was changed to 12 to 18 weeks. For Covaxin, the gap remains unchanged: four to six weeks.

According to the BMC, from May 18 to 20, beneficiaries aged above 60 taking first dose of Covishield, those due for second dose of Covaxin and people with special abilities, will be allowed for spot registration and walk-ins to their nearest centre. On these three days, only health and frontline workers can get their second dose of Covishield as many have completed 12 weeks after their first dose.

After several complaints of confusion, mismanagement and CoWIN glitches, the BMC has introduced a pilot project to streamline the immunisation drive.

Under this drive, for the first three days of the week — Monday to Wednesday — the BMC will allow walk-in or spot registration to the nearest centres for beneficiaries aged above 60, those seeking second dose of Covaxin and specially abled persons. For the rest of the three days — Thursday to Saturday — 100 per cent online appointment through CoWIN will be permitted. There will be no vaccination on Sundays.

“We are starting this new system as a pilot project. Suppose, if we get a good response at vaccination centres, then we may think of continuing it further,” said additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Kakani said there were three lakh beneficiaries aged above 60, who were yet to get their first jab. “As per our mathematical model, there are about 11 lakh people in the city aged above 60 years, of which close to eight lakh have received their first dose. We are hopeful of covering remaining people by next week,” he said.

There are over 250 vaccination centres run by the BMC and state government, which are administering free vaccines. Earlier, on May 12, Chahal had issued an order to start one vaccination centre in each corporator’s ward and provide at least 100 doses to each centre to utilise maximum staff and resources.

According to BMC data, so far, 28.41 lakh people have been vaccinated in Mumbai. Of which, 21.21 lakh have got first dose and 7.19 lakh second dose.

Vaccination to resume from tomorrow

*Second dose of Covishield to be administered after May 23

*BMC has planned pilot project: for first three days of week, walk-ins and spot registration to be allowed for beneficiaries aged above 60, those seeking second dose of Covaxin and persons with special abilities

*For remaining three days, vaccination will be allowed through 100% online appointment on CoWIN

*No vaccinations on Sunday.

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