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Day 4 of vaccination drive: Many senior citizens overcome challenges, get the jab

Vinson Kurian, V Sajeev Kumar, Rahul Wadke Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi/Mumbai | Updated on March 04, 2021

State Government officials wait to get vaccinated at the Jimmy George indoor stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday   -  Mahinsha S

Hospitals, too, get their act together and are better prepared

On Day 4 of the Phase-II vaccination, senior citizens across the country began figuring out ways to overcome challenges and get vaccinated. Some were lucky while some persevered and met with success. Hospitals, too, got their act together as the pace of vaccination gathered momentum.

In Kochi, after several failed attempts on the portal, Jayachandran, owner of CICC Books, sought the help of a doctor-friend who walked him through the system and managed to register the 63-year-old. He was assigned a time slot on Wednesday and received the jab.

Not tech-savvy

He said senior citizens trying to register and find the time and place for vaccination have a tough time since most are not tech savvy. A few who have been able to cross the first few hurdles are invariably blocked after the OTP is generated. He says more private hospitals should be allowed to entertain walk-ins.

Since the government has fixed an affordable ₹250 for the vaccine, private hospitals can handle the situation comfortably, he said.

In Mumbai, 67-year-old housewife, Pushpa Amin, gave out a low cry at the vaccination centre in the KEM Hospital in Mumbai after being given the first dosage.

Amin says she wants to remain healthy and not fall to the virus as she desires to see her granddaughter’s wedding.

There were many such senior citizens and those between 45 and 60 years with blood pressure and diabetes waiting to get their first shot of the vaccine at the new building in the sprawling KEM Hospital campus.

Municipal hospital

The KEM Hospital in central Mumbai is one of the largest municipal hospitals in the city, treating annually about 1.8 million OPD patients and 85,000 in-patients. Vaccination is being carried out in a large ward, which has 10 enclosures, each staffed with a doctor and a nurse. Only those beneficiaries with proper registration are given the vaccination. The ward also has four beds with ventilators for handling any medical emergency in case of an adverse reaction.

At the BKC Jumbo Covid centre, the management succeeded in bringing in some order, unlike Monday when a large crowd had gathered due to technical issues in the Co-Win app. 50-year-old auto rickshaw driver Naeem Khan who was administered his first shot on Monday at BKC centre said he had mild fever after the shot but has recovered. Being a severe diabetic, he was worried about his health.

Also read: Glitches still hamper Covid vaccination drive

In Thiruvananthapuram, a senior citizen and mother of two super-specialist doctors who retired as a top government official said on condition of anonymity that her elder son had helped her with the registration. But neither the portal nor the app allowed her a choice of the vaccination centre.

“The app promptly throws up a list of five such centres, including a daycare centre, a neighbourhood residents’ association hall, a family health and welfare centre, and two hospitals. It goes on to ask you to pick your choice but fails to respond to your choice of any single centre,” she said. A set of people reported that walk-ins at the Government General Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram and their experience have been a ‘breeze’ . Madhavan Pillai of Sasthamangalam in the capital city considers himself lucky in this context.

Walk-in, a breeze

When the 70-year-old reached the hospital on the first day of vaccination (March 1), he was surprised to see a largely vacant space. The courteous nursing staff recorded his Aadhaar credentials and mobile number. After the formalities were over, he waited for the mandatory cool-off period, and was home in less than 45 minutes.

But not many have been as lucky, says Vishnu, a 50-year-old with co-morbidities. He had to wait for 30 minutes before being called. “I don’t mind the 30-minute wait or the observation period for as many minutes. But the fear of infection was playing in the back of my mind. Fortunately, I didn't have any reaction from the vaccination. Curious, I asked the nurse the name of the Covid-19 vaccine that was used to inoculate me. But she merely smiled.”

Published on March 04, 2021

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