January 31, 2021 1:00:13 am
Following a communication from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 29 to commence the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination, Gujarat will begin the inoculation drive for its frontline workers, including policemen, from Sunday, targeting to cover 75,000 beneficiaries in a single day.
State immunisation officer Nayan Jani Saturday said “no healthcare worker will be vaccinated on Sunday”, instead frontline workers, including officials from revenue department, home department and urban development department, will get the first jab.
More than three lakh frontline workers have been registered as beneficiaries across Gujarat, Jani added. Earlier, data provided by the health department had estimated the figure to be around 6.93 lakh.
On Sunday, the state immunisation officer said, the focus will remain on oral polio drive as well as frontline workers. Oral polio drive is expected across an estimated 35,000 booths with nearly 1.5 lakh workers, including field workers, medical officers and pharmacists, deployed for the purpose. He added that 75,000 frontline workers will also be vaccinated for Covid-19 at district, government and private hospitals. A plan on conducting parallel vaccination of the first priority group of health workers as well as the second priority group simultaneously starting Tuesday, however, remains to be chalked (removed quotes, this isn’t his quote, just summarised in these words for brevity), Jani added.
The polio drive will continue at least till Tuesday in the state.
A state health department official, meanwhile, said vaccination drive will prioritise healthcare workers and their inoculation. “A majority of our health workers will be deployed for the polio drive on Sunday, hence we decided to go ahead with the Covid-19 vaccination for frontline workers. Each polio booth involves four health workers, so for the entire polio round (stretching across three to four days) nearly 1.5 lakh health workers are involved. At the same time, we are targeting for more than 75,000 frontline workers to be inoculated for Covid-19, (can remove, a repetition of what we are saying in the above para)” the official said.
Nearly 26,000 health workers have been inoculated in the areas under Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), a health department official. Another 24,000 remains to be vaccinated.
The official said from Sunday the Covid-19 vaccination of frontline workers will be conducted at hospitals, while urban health centres will be used for the polio drive. “Henceforth, Covid-19 vaccination of health and frontline workers will take place simultaneously, each day designated for one of the priority groups,” the official said.
Around 10,000 healthcare workers will be deployed for the polio drive in the AMC jurisdiction. “Currently, UHC staff as well as UHC will be deployed for the polio drive. Till now, we would conduct Covid-19 vaccination at UHCs along with hospitals, taking our total sites to around 130-140, but now Covid-19 vaccination will go on at almost all hospitals in the city. We are targeting to vaccinate approximately 10,000 frontline workers Sunday. AMC has registered an estimated 47,000 frontline workers,” the official said.
Among those expected to take the first shot include Ahmedabad collector, district development officer and city police commissioner.
The second priority group’s vaccination drive will start from Sunday and will go on for three days even as officers of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) maintained that the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination drive would not affect the scheduled polio vaccination exercise.
“We are launching the second phase vaccination drive from Sunday. All the employees and workers of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation, city police and employees of other departments would be covered in this phase. I will take the first jab at a session at the RMC headquarters,” Rajkot municipal commissioner Udit Agrawal said.
Officers of civic body’s health department said besides 8,000 employees of the RMC, around 3,000 frontline workers from other departments have been listed as beneficiaries for the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination.
While Sunday is scheduled for polio immunisation exercise, RMC officers said they have made elaborate plans to ensure both the drives went on smoothly. “We have engaged around 3,700 health workers for Covid-19 immunisation. Polio vaccination drive would be conducted by around 700 Anganwadi workers and helpers. Both the drives would have dedicated separate teams and would go on independent of each other,” a civic officer said.
Agrawal, meanwhile, said against the target of vaccinating around 13,000 health workers in the first phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive, around 8,000 were vaccinated till Saturday. “Frankly speaking, there have been no adverse events and the response has been good. Initially, some among the Anganwadi workers had apprehensions about the vaccine. But that have been addressed now. Those who have not been covered in the first phase, so far, would get opportunity to get a jab in coming days also,” the commissioner said.
A total of 7,000 people will receive Covid-19 vaccine across 35 centres in Vadodara Sunday, including municipal commissioner and the commissioner of police.
Dr Devesh Patel, the medical officer (health) Vadodara, said the VMC is aiming to achieve 100 per cent target of vaccination Sunday. “We have a target of 7,000. Of these, about 1,000 will be police personnel. So far, we have vaccinated 11,700 health workers and the drive will continue simultaneously.”
Patel said though the polio vaccination drive would also kick off Sunday, the VMC will deploy workers from GMERS-run Gotri and SSG hospitals as additional staff for vaccinations, if required. “We have our teams on the ground already. At a Covid-19 vaccination centre we need four persons. The rest can manage the polio drive. We are incorporating GMERS and SSG in the plan so it will be additional help,” Patel said.
Deputy health commissioner of Surat Municipal Corporation, Dr Ashish Naik said, “We have covered over 60 per cent of healthcare workers. Sunday onwards, we are also planning to vaccinate frontline workers, comprising SMC staffers, police, revenue department, teachers, disaster management staffers, among others, which is around 45,000 beneficiaries.”