Updated: January 17, 2021 12:03:37 am
Terming it a “revolutionary step”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday launched the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the state.
While the drive did encounter a few technical hiccups, no major untoward incidents were reported in any of the vaccination centres across the state. While 4,000 healthcare workers were expected to be vaccinated in Mumbai and 28,500 across the state on the first day of the vaccination drive, preliminary numbers that came in suggested that only 50 per cent of the intended beneficiaries had received the doses. While in some cases the beneficiaries did not turn up, the software glitches in Co-WIN slowed down the process at a few centres.
Launching the vaccination drive at the Covid care centre in Bandra Kurla Complex here, the Chief Minister said the “corona warriors” had selflessly treated the Covid-19 patients even when there was no remedy available.
“Those days still give me shivers. The situation was really adverse and grim then. Hospitals were flooded with Covid-19 patients. How to proceed was a big question before everyone and no solution was in sight. Everyone was under pressure because of the situation,” he said.
Urging the people to not let their guard down even though vaccines are being made available, the Chief Minister said “wearing a face mask is the best vaccine available”.
“People must continue wearing masks in public places even after receiving vaccine doses. The way Covid-19 cases have once again been found in large numbers in some countries…. we may face a similar situation…” he said.
Mumbai has received 1.39 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine from Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The state has received 9.63 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 20,000 doses of Covaxin vaccine, which have been distributed to all the districts.
Dean of Mumbai’s JJ Hospital, Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, doctors, and former Maharashtra health minister Deepak Sawant were among the first beneficiaries to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on the first day of the inoculation drive.
At Dr R N Cooper Hospital, the vaccination process began around 11.30 am and went on till 5.15 pm. The hospital saw 262 frontline workers turn up for the immunisation of the 500 names listed for Day 1. The hospital was set up as the model centre for vaccination and a dry run was conducted there earlier this month. Among those who were listed in the first list were doctors, nurses, ward assistants, and clerical staff of Cooper Hospital, Dr B N Nanavati Hospital and Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, along with lab technicians of Suburban Diagnostics.
As coronavirus vaccines reached the hospital on Saturday morning, dozens of healthcare workers clapped and cheered the “vaccine carrier” with aarti thalis and sweets
The first to receive the vaccine at the hospital was Deepak Sawant along with his wife, Anila, who are both doctors. They had registered for the vaccine and said that they were happy to find their names on the first list. After the vaccine, they were kept in the observation room for half-an-hour before being allowed to leave. “I feel fine, my oxygen saturation level was at 99. I wish to tell people to not be scared,” Sawant said at the hospital.
Most beneficiaries of the vaccine on Day 1 said that while they had not received text messages as was declared, they had received calls from the ward office on Friday night or Saturday morning. This was followed by a verification at the entrance to the centre and a check on a counter where the list was tallied with photo-identity proofs of the person. Here, each person was given a colour token for the respective booths. Once inside, another verification followed outside the booth, and a final check by the vaccinator, before the shot was administered.
After a three-minute process with the vaccinator, the person was taken to the observation room where chairs were arranged for beneficiaries to sit. A separate observation ward was also set up in preparation of those showing adverse effects, but hospital authorities said that none required it on Day 1.
The inoculation drive took place at 285 centres in Maharashtra.
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