January 23, 2021 10:52:09 pm
WITH THE first two days of Covid-19 vaccination in Gujarat registering a tepid response, falling short of its target on both days by nearly 20 percentage points, there has been a shift strategy. Instead of targeting 100 beneficiaries at each of the 161 vaccination sites, authorities have now upped the number of inoculation sites while easing the number of recipients. On Saturday, vaccines were administered at 510 sites, almost three times the number of sites selected so far.
According to data provided by state immunisation officer Nayan Jani, an “estimated 32,000 health workers were vaccinated across Gujarat, of the estimated 36,000 who were scheduled” to be administered the first vaccine dose Saturday.
Until Friday, Gujarat had vaccinated 46,150 health workers, Press Information Bureau data states. An estimated 78,150 doses of Covishield have been administered until Saturday evening in the state, it adds.
While Jani said the ramp-up came following “instructions and guidelines from the Government of India to all states to slowly take a decision on increasing the number of sites”, some district-level health officials said the move comes on the back of an additional non-working day in the upcoming week on Republic Day. Also, the oral polio drive is expected to commence from January 31, which has already been deferred this year.
Apart from these, the existing off-days for Covid-19 vaccination include routine immunisation days of Mondays and Wednesdays and weekly holidays on Sundays.
A health department official said, “States have to consult with the central government on vaccine site ramp-up because one also has to be mindful of the CoWIN application since the vaccination drive is being executed over this platform. It is possible that if states unilaterally decide to ramp up the number of vaccination sites, the server may slow down or crash.”
The Gujarat health department is targeting to complete inoculating its nearly 4.5 lakh registered health workers “within the next 15 working days”, Jani said.
On Saturday, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) trebled its vaccination sites — from 20 such sites until now to 60. Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) too doubled the number of vaccination centres in its jurisdiction, from 14 to 28 sites.
While the state health department in its Covid-19 vaccination schedule stipulated vaccination in rural or district areas on four days — Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday — and mandated three days of vaccination in municipal corporation areas — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – the civic body in Ahmedabad had continued its drive on Friday, albeit with 15 sites against the usual 20 vaccination sites designated (prior to the ramp-up).
“Our target right now is to cover maximum health workers that we can because next week we will not have Covid-19 vaccination on all four days. Also, starting today, we have increased our vaccination sites to 60 following a meeting and consultation with Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) and Ahmedabad Medical Association (AMA). Their members have now liaised with our deputy health officers (to coordinate the drives in respective areas),” an AMC health official said.
The official said initially, AMC areas had 20 vaccination sites and a target of inoculating 2,000 beneficiaries, of which approximately 1,500 would get the jab. “Today, for 60 sites we have a target of vaccinating around 4,500, of which we vaccinated 3,174 beneficiaries. Among the new sites in AMC area are private hospitals, government hospitals, urban health centres (UHCs) as well as schools. The increase in vaccination sites will reduce the waiting period and we are planning to complete vaccinating health workers in AMC jurisdiction within the next 10 days,” the official added.
Surat civic body administered 2,855 doses to beneficiaries across its 28 session sites on Saturday,
SMC deputy health commissioner Dr Ashish Naik said.
On January 16, the first day of the vaccination, 1,247 vaccines were administered across the 14 vaccination centres in SMC, while 1,297 doses were administered on January 19. A marginal increase was seen on January 21 when 1,356 vaccine shots were administered.
“We have around 33,000 registered health workers in Surat city, of them till date we have vaccinated 6,755 health workers which is 20 per cent of the total registered health workers. Seeing the good number of beneficiaries, we have added centres at New Civil hospital, SMIMER hospital, private hospitals in the city,” Naik said.
Meanwhile, Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) achieved 103 per cent vaccination target with 1,867 people taking the jab as against 1,800 registered beneficiaries in the fourth round of vaccinations at 18 centres Saturday.
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