As the clock ticked for Pawan Kirtani, a Delhi-based doctor, it was a question of getting the shot than whether he got Covishield or Covaxin vaccine. Kirtani is among those who got the vaccine soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest adult immunisation drive on Saturday to fight Covid-19.

Speaking to BusinessLine immediately after, Kirtani said that he had no medical complications or felt any reaction in his body and was happy that he was one of the first to get the vaccine. “I don’t think I have to worry about any reaction,” he said.

Asked if there was any choice between Covishield or Covaxin, he said there wasn’t any choice. “They were carrying only Covishield and we got that. I don’t think there is any harm in that. Whichever vaccine is available we should take that,” he added.

Well-planned drive

Similarly, Puneet Khanna, a doctor at Manipal Hospital in Delhi, said it was not much of a hassle, though there was a brief waiting before he took the shot and was required to wait 30 minutes for any reaction.

“It was a very well-thought out plan, just like we go for voting during the elections — slots and batches of only five-seven people at a time were getting the vaccine,” he said, adding that the 100 staff of his hospital — from sanitisation workers to nurses to doctors in the 18-50 age group without any co-morbidity — were given the vaccine on Day 1. Rahul Sanghvi, a healthcare official at South-West Zone of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), received Covisheild vaccine. Sanghvi said that the process was smooth and was happy to be among the beneficiaries on the first day of the nation-wide vaccination drive. “I will get my parents also vaccinated when their turn comes,” he said.

Sanghvi had received an SMS stating the date, place and time for the vaccination. His friends and colleagues in the medical fraternity are now awaiting their turn without any fear and suspicion, he added.

Most healthcare workers were also part of the vaccine trials that has been going on for the last few months. For instance, Parul, a Nursing Officer at AIIMS-Delhi, said, “We were close witness to the rigorous process of vaccine trial. I feel proud and satisfied after getting vaccination today. I don’t feel any side-effect and have full faith in the vaccine developed in our country.” According to the guidelines, 100 healthcare workers were vaccinated at AIIMS with Covaxin. The nursing staff was given the choice. There are some like this senior nurse at AIIMS still not very confident. “It was voluntary and I have decided not to take the vaccine. I will not take the vaccine as I am not sure about them, yet,” she said.

A medical professional in Hyderabad also, who did not want to be identified, said Covaxin doses should be seen as `largest clinical trial doses’ in India as the full data are not out, yet. “We are more comfortable with Covishield’,” he said.

Medical professionals who received the vaccine (Covishield) seemed happy and confident. “We are all confident about the efficacy of the vaccine,” said .Sudha Rani, who took the vaccine at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

TN to cover 5.36 lakh

In Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami inaugurated the vaccination drive at Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai with K Senthil, President of Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association getting the first shot.

The vaccination will be done at 166 sites for 100 persons per centre every day. A total of 5.36 lakh people will be covered in the first phase. The State has got 5.56 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines —5.36 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 20,000 doses of Covaxin, the Chief Minister ssaid. At least 11 eminent doctors, including Apollo Hospitals’ Chairman Prathap C Reddy, were among the first to take the vaccine.

Mamata lauds medical staff

In West Bengal, vaccination was done across 207 sites and 20,000 health workers were inoculated. At a programme organised centrally from the state secretariat Nabanna, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee virtually praised doctors, nurses and hospital support staff for their determined fight against Covid-19.

(With inputs from Rutam Vora in Ahmedabad, Naga Sridhar in Hyderabad, T. E. Raja Simhan in Chennai and Shobha Roy in Kolkata)