Gujarat recipients gung-ho on COVID-19 vaccine

The state will vaccinate about 440,000 healthcare workers and 355,000 frontline workers in the first round

By Dhruval Parekh
Published: Tuesday 19 January 2021
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Gujarat started the immunisation drive against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on January 16, 2021 with one vaccine candidate — Covishield produced by Serum Institute of India

The state will vaccinate about 440,000 healthcare workers and 355,000 frontline workers in the first round. “The campaign is expected to be completed over two months,” said Nayan Jani, state immunisation officer. 

The vials of Covishield vaccine the state has received is being stored in 2,169 cold storage points which include primary health centres, community health centres and urban primary health centres. Along with this, 33 district vaccine stores, eight corporation vaccine stores and six regional vaccine stores are being utilised, the officer added.

As many as 41 vans have been deployed to transport the vaccines from the storage points to the 161 vaccination/session sites across the state. More than 15,000 vaccinators are being trained and stationed for assistance. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign will be conducted only four days a week, leaving Mondays and Wednesdays, following government guidelines and to not disrupt regular vaccination sessions.  

The health officers and vaccinators in the state have not faced any technical snags on the CoWIN mobile application developed by the Centre to facilitate the vaccination. "If we do encounter a glitch on the app, a contingency plan is in place to consider the beneficiaries offline and later updating their information on the system. This will ensure no technical glitch compromises the vaccination session," Jani said.

A doctor in Vadodara underscored the lack of efficacy data for Covaxin, and that it is being rolled out on a clinical trial mode. The vaccine has been developed by Bharat Biotech Ltd and Indian Council of Medical Research.  

“Here, doctors only know about Covishield. To my knowledge, without trials on tens of thousands of people, its efficacy data cannot be considered. But as the Drug Controller General of India has approved it for emergency use, by and large doctors also believes that it is considerable," he said. 

Although there is no pressure from higher authorities, frontline workers and the medical fraternity are being encouraged to get the jabs, said Dr Osman Belim, Covid-19 nodal officer at Sir Sayajirao General Hospital (SSGH), Vadodara. “Vaccination is completely voluntary. However, if they participate, they can build trust among the general public," he added. 

The beneficiaries, who are all frontline workers, shared that this ‘shot of hope’ brings them pride and relief. “At the time of injecting the vaccine, I felt it is a kind of reward to me and all of us who are fighting the battle against COVID-19 from the frontline for a year now," said a nurse at a COVID-19 ward in SSGH, Vadodara.

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