Delhi Vaccination drive: Less than 50% of beneficiaries get Covid jabs in the first 3 days, here’s why

Healthcare workers would like to see the vaccine’s effects on the first batch of participants for 14 days.

In the national capital’s three main hospitals – AIIMS, RML and Safdarjung, the turnout of healthcare workers for getting the vaccine shot against the novel Coronavirus has been low. This led to the vaccination drive in Delhi remain on the slower lane. In the first three days of the vaccination drive, only 158 workers have been vaccinated at AIIMS, followed by 127 workers at RML and 122 staff members at Safdarjung, a report by The Indian Express highlighted. It is to note that so far, 4,936 healthcare workers have been vaccinated accounting for 48.75 per cent of the expected target across 81 sites in Delhi. The government had planned to vaccinate 10,125 beneficiaries in this duration.

Each hospital is expected to inoculate 100 beneficiaries a day, however, the turnout is less. On Tuesday, 55 staff members got vaccinated at AIIMS. The number remained 27 and 30 at RML and Safdarjung, respectively. These three hospitals are part of the six hospitals directed by the government to give indigenously developed Covaxin (by Bharat Biotech), which is currently under phase 3 of clinical trials. In the rest of 75 centres, Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield is being administered.

The government sources, according to the report, said that there has been some improvement in the numbers of healthcare workers turning up for the Covid-19 vaccine. However, from the looks of it, it seems like even the workers want to wait and watch the impact of vaccination before they get a shot for themselves. Currently, sixteen cases have been reported where beneficiaries suffered AEFI (adverse event following immunisation). Citing a senior official, the report highlighted the apprehensiveness of workers at these three hospitals and added that they would like to see the vaccine’s effects on the first batch of participants for 14 days. Also, the consent form that the beneficiaries have to sign has also led to many having the second thoughts.

The top management including AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, RML medical superintendent A K Rana, NITI Aayog member V K Paul as well as Medical Director of Lady Hardinge Medical College Dr N N Mathur received the Covaxin shot on January 16 — the first day of the vaccination drive.

Apart from the second thoughts, the fluctuating numbers of beneficiaries can also be attributed to the issues pertaining to running the CoWIN app initially, the report citing Dr. Rana said. He added that he has been promoting his staff members to take the vaccine. Meanwhile, Health Minister Satyendar Jain has ensured that even if the turnout is less, the confidence of people for the Covid-19 vaccine will pick up.

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