CLOSE TO 8,000 health workers in Mumbai are expected to receive a text message on Friday, giving them details of centre and date as India rolls out its vaccination programme against Covid-19 from Saturday.
“The SMS will be sent a day in advance to ensure nobody forgets their immunisation date. After a few days, messages to beneficiaries may be sent two days in advance,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.
Kakani said the vaccination drive will begin from 11 am on Saturday, and nine centres — KEM, Sion, Nair, RN Cooper, BKC jumbo facility, Rajawadi, Babasaheb Ambedkar Kandivali Shatabdi, VN Desai and Bandra Bhabha — with 40 booths in total will kick-start the drive. Mumbai has chosen 50 vaccination centres at dispensaries, maternity homes and hospitals and, in a week, based on the response and numbers at these nine centres, more might be opened up, Kakani added.
He also said each beneficiary will get at least three text messages to reschedule vaccination, in case the first one was missed, but following that the beneficiary’s name will be removed from the list.
The nine centres will receive their stock of vaccines on Friday. Each centre has an ice lined refrigerator (ILR), and medical colleges have extra storage facilities. In Rajawadi hospital, Medical Superintendent Dr Vidya Thakur said they had one ILR to store 50,000 doses. “From ILR, vaccines will be transported in small batches in vaccine carriers to the centre. We have six vaccination booths at our centre,” she said.
In Kandivali Shatabdi hospital, where six vaccination booths have been installed, medical officer Dr Lekhraj Kesare said in case of crowding, they planned to give time slots and tokens to beneficiaries so that each can revisit. “If there are very few beneficiaries, we can vaccinate quickly. But if the waiting area is full, we will start giving hourly slots to beneficiaries to disperse them,” he said.
In the first phase, health workers, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, will be immunised. Kesare said they will also ask beneficiaries to come with a full stomach for the shot. “There could be blood pressure fluctuation. It is always a good idea to come after eating something,” he said.
As vaccination centres make last-minute preparations, several are yet to get CoWIN software’s training and login details. Few centres said they had only seen a video demonstrating the app but had no hands-on experience in using it.
Kakani said a training session will be undertaken on Friday for all centres, along with a mock trial run to bridge last-minute issues.
Dr Sheela Jagtap, BMC immunisation officer, said training for Covishield was imparted to all vaccinators but, for Covaxin, detailed guidelines were awaited. Covaxin shots will be administered at JJ hospital in Mumbai and eight other centres across the state.
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