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How TN govt hospitals have made taking the Covid jab a painless process

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on March 05, 2021

A senior citizen getting a shot at the Covid-19 vaccination centre at Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital in Chennai   -  BIJOY GHOSH

Well-refined template and walk-in registrations made the process smooth

Luxury cars — Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi — parked outside the vaccination centres at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) and the Omandurar Government Medical College (OGMC) in Chennai is a testimony to the fact that government hospitals have led the way when it comes Phase-II of the vaccination drive in Tamil Nadu.

“It took just 40 minutes. The entire process was so smooth, and the entire staff, courteous and professional,” said Subramanian, a 65-year-old entrepreneur, who took the shot at RGGH on Thursday. Echoing a similar view, Sudharshan, 68, who went to OGMC, said, “after my experience, I will suggest to all my relatives and friends to get vaccinated here for free,” he said.

On entering the vaccination centre, the person needs to provide his/her name at the entrance along with the Aadhaar number, which is mandatory to get the vaccine. After checking medical parameters like hyper-tension and pulse, the person is given a form to be filled up and asked to wait at the lounge. There are 20-25 persons at a centre at any given point of time.

Called by turns, the person goes to a room where the forms are collected, and the shot given. The person is then asked to rest for 30 minutes.

R Jayanthi, Dean, OGMC, said, “it is a seamless experience for persons coming here to take the vaccine. It takes less than 45 minutes, including the resting time of 30 minutes. The number of persons visiting the hospital has been steadily rising the last couple of days.”

Elsewhere in the State, too, people are happy taking the vaccine at government hospitals. PS Narayanan, 67, and his mother (84) got vaccinated at Rajaji Government Hospital in Madurai. The whole process just took five minutes for each, he said in a tweet.

As of Thursday evening, a total of 81,026 persons (30,986 were over 60 years) took the vaccine of which 63,646 was the first dose. This is as against 66,337 (of whom 25,928 were over 60) on Wednesday and 41,643 (23,439, over 60) on Tuesday, according to the State Health Department. On Friday, 92,208 persons took the shot. So far, 7.6 lakh have taken a Covid vaccine in the State.

While government hospitals provide the vaccine free, persons like B Govindarajan preferred to take it outside. “I chose Hindu Mission Hospital and paid ₹250. I believe those who can afford must get the vaccination done for a price since the government resources can help millions of others who cannot afford,” he said.

What lessons do Tamil Nadu’s efforts have for other States? The vaccination process has been well refined and has been left to hospitals and administrators to run the show. The template perfected at RGGGH and OGMC has been transmitted to all districts and is being implemented everywhere.

Persistent awareness

That apart, consistent and persistent awareness created by the government and the ‘scientific temper’ displayed by the elderly were the two prime reasons for people’s ready acceptance and the second phase of inoculation getting off to a strong start. “Elderly people have set an example to the frontline and eligible people who have avoided it initially,” State Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told BusinessLine.

In the first phase, there was less-than-expected response from healthcareand frontline workers. “However, this time we effectively communicated to the citizens on the benefits. The elderly have displayed full faith and belief, and displayed a scientific temper,” he added.

The government, from Day 1, ensured that those who are eager to have the vaccine get it. “We allowed walk-in registration, which was a major success,” added.

Published on March 05, 2021

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