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How Gujarat nearly doubled Covid vaccinations within a week

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on April 06, 2021

Over 10% of State’s population inoculated so far; civic bodies camp at colleges, commercial complexes, societies, to administer the jab

Amidst an alarming spurt in Covid cases in Gujarat, the State authorities are using unconventional modes to cover larger populations as fast as possible, for vaccinations.

Educational premises, residential societies, office complexes, bank branches and trade association offices are some of the unconventional Covid-19 vaccination sites in parts of Gujarat, which has put vaccination on a war-footing. This, according to officials, has helped ramp up daily vaccinations in the State.

As per data, during the average of five days ending March 31, Gujarat inoculated about 1.9 lakh people with the first dose, which rose to 3.1 lakh for the five days ending April 5. The average of total daily vaccinations increased to nearly 4 lakh from 2.2 lakh for the preceding five days ending March 31.

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Speaking to BusinessLine, Nayan Jani, Chief Immunisation Officer, Gujarat, said the State’s vaccination progress was one of the best in the country, with over 75 lakh people or over 10 per cent of the State’s 6.5 crore population already getting the jab.

At 7.9 crore vaccinations, India’s vaccination coverage is about 6 per cent of the total population as on April 5.

“Our aim is to vaccinate all eligible beneficiaries. It is up to the local authorities of the district or cities to decide how to cover them. If they feel that holding a camp at a specific place can help them inoculate a large group of eligible people together, they can do it without compromising on the protocol,” said Jani, adding that there can't be a uniform model for the entire State as each district and city has different situations and arrangements.

“Ultimately, the aim is to vaccinate the beneficiary, either they come to us or we go to them,” he added.

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Success factors

In educational town Vallabh Vidyanagar of Anand district, Sardar Patel Education Trust-managed colleges and Gujarat Government’s Department of Health and Family Welfare have organised a free Covid vaccination centre. The centre had earlier invited all individuals above 35 to get the jab, but on April 3 the Union Health Ministry asked authorities to strictly adhere to the vaccination age limit of 45 years and above.

In Ahmedabad’s famous jewellery market Manek Chawk, the trade association Choksi Mahajan, and civic body, held a special vaccination drive for jewellers and their employees eligible to get the jab.

Health officials informed that unlike the polio vaccination for newborns, which can be held door-to-door, Covid vaccination requires a set protocol to be followed. Hence, it can be held in a common premises where arrangements for registration, management of biomedical waste and the post-vaccination observation area are available.

With all these measures, Jani stated, Gujarat has become a frontrunner in Covid-19 vaccinations across India.

“There are multiple factors that contributed to Gujarat’s fast vaccinations. First, the system and management of vaccination is well in place. Second, the people are much aware and forthcoming to get the jab. This is making things easier for the authorities to inoculate large populations at a faster pace,” said Jani.

For migrant workers

Last week, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had asked officials to ensure vaccinations for all migrant workers living in the industrial districts of Surat, Kutch and Ahmedabad, besides others.

Gujarat has 5,500 vaccination sites including public and private places, with over 2,200 cold chain points, where the vaccine can be stored across the State.

The total staff involved in the vaccination process is about 1.5 lakh people, including 15,000 trained vaccinators and other healthcare workers, administration staff, security and other support staff.

Published on April 06, 2021

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