As Punjab continues to grapple with a sharp and continuous surge in Covid cases amid an ongoing second wave, Ludhiana, an industrial district, has decided to launch a drive from April 1 to vaccinate everyone above the age of 45 years at their doorstep. The drive will specially focus on factories, villages and residential societies. The Indian Express explains the rational behind the first of its kind move in Punjab.
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What is a doorstep vaccination? Why is it important?
In doorstep vaccination, session sites will be set up at factories, residential colonies, and at a common place in villages. A mobile team of four persons will visit that particular location to vaccinate people above 45 years of age with or without comorbidities. The mobile team comprises a security personnel, a verifier, a vaccinator, and an observer. To start with, the district immunisation team of Ludhiana will start with 3-4 mobile teams and may later increase the numbers depending upon the response. This drive will benefit a number of persons who are keen to get themselves vaccinated but are reluctant to visit health centres, the elderly, and the labourers in factories who may otherwise have to take a day’s leave to get inoculated.
Is Ludhiana the only district for doorstep vaccination in Punjab?
As of now this doorstep vaccination drive, beginning April 1, has been announced only by Ludhiana district administration. According to Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, state nodal officer for Covid-19, “Eventually other districts will also follow suit. We have told other districts to increase the number of vaccination centres”. Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma, meanwhile, said that Gurugram in Haryana started the doorstep vaccination facility on March 20. “Ludhiana is an industrial town. We decided to launch this facility as we had been getting queries from many persons if someone could visit their area for vaccination drive,” he said.
How will it be carried out?
To start with, the teams will first visit large units that have more than 2000 employees or the big residential societies where people are keen to get themselves vaccinated in large numbers. “We got a query from Vardhman Textiles apart from some other big units. A team will first visit the area and locate an appropriate session site. Later, the mobile team will visit the unit to vaccinate the staff. A number of dispensaries are located near industrial units and they can be turned into session sites depending upon the response from factory employees,” said Dr Kiran Gill, district immunisation officer (DIO), Ludhiana. As of now, there are 147 session sites in Ludhiana of which 71 are at government health centres and the rest at private hospitals.
How is the ambit of vaccination to be increased ?
According to Dr Bhaskar, Punjab currently has nearly 800 vaccination centres out of which 500 are at government hospitals and the rest in private hospitals. “We have plans to increase the session sites and start vaccination drive at 2,800 wellness centres located in rural as well as urban areas where our staff is already deputed. In addition, we have 3,000 sub-centres mostly in rural areas and 1,200 rural health centres, ayurvedic and homeopathic dispensaries.. let’s see at how many new locations we can start vaccination drive so as to reach maximum people at their doorstep,” said Dr Bhaskar. Dr Kiran Gill, however, said, “We have already started training the staff deputed at wellness centres in Ludhiana”.