The vaccination drive for senior citizens and those above 45 with co-morbidities is underway with more than 25 lakh people registering on the Co-Win portal and many queued up outside designated hospitals for walk-in registrations as well.
Sudha Devi, 64, stood anxiously outside the Felix Hospital in Sector 137, Noida, waiting to get herself registered for a shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. Hamstrung by lack of ability to utilise the technological tools for registration, Devi decided to walk to the nearby hospital.
“I live alone in this city and after spending last one year inside the four walls of my home, I finally see a ray of hope with the vaccine. I came all the way here because of my inability to handle technology. I couldn’t register myself digitally but having enquired the details now, I hope to get the vaccine shot on March 4,” Devi told Money9.
She further explained the plight of her peers who are also facing the same issues.
“People of my age want to get vaccinated without unnecessary hassles,” she asserted.
The vaccination drive began across 303 centers in the Capital on March 1 and 15,521 people got vaccinated by the end of the day. This included 5,176 senior citizens (over 60) and 1,009 between 45 to 59 years of age with co-morbidities.
“The process of Covid-19 vaccination has been well thought out. It is very important for those with co-morbidities to take the vaccine,” Anupam Sibal, Pediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at Apollo Hospital – New Delhi, told Money9.
The data from the Ministry of Health and Family welfare indicates – as many as 25,656 healthcare workers got the first dose of the vaccine while 1,01,587 took the second dose. A total of 1,52,349 frontline workers while 18,850 people between the age of 45 and 59 (having specified co-morbid conditions) also received the vaccine shot. As many as 1,28,630 senior citizens got vaccinated nationwide.
While the older generation was seen eagerly waiting for their turn at the hospitals, many still seemed vary regarding the anticipated side-effects of the vaccine. However, doctors have reassured time and again about the efficacy of the vaccine and encouraged its adoption as early as possible.
“No serious side effects have been reported. Mild pain, soreness and fever are well recognized and actually demonstrate that the body is responding to the vaccine,” Sibal assured.
With the vaccination drive in process, hospitals are tackling enormous queries.
“Initially, there were doubts amongst citizens regarding the efficacy of the vaccine, its side effects and affordability. People were dicey about picking from the two vaccines- Covidshield and Covaxin. We witnessed a turnout of around 60% people in the first phase. But these initial hurdles have been crossed successfully, I believe. Now, senior citizens can also get vaccinated and the process is relatively simpler. You can register either on Co-Win or Arogya Setu App, or else, one can simply walk in to the nearest designated hospital and get registered for the vaccination drive,” Dr DK Gupta, MD – Paediatrics and Chairman of Felix Hospital, told Money9.
There are many people who have a preferred vaccine and feel one is better than the other. Shutting down these myths, Gupta said both the vaccines were equally equipped and had over 70% efficiency.
He also pointed to the lack of clarity surrounding the ‘option to choose between two vaccines’ stating the hospitals can provide the vaccine that has been supplied to them.
“In the first phase – we had one vaccine (either Covaxin or Covidshield) at a time. So we are not sure if people will get a choice to pick from the two. However, this is not the time to contemplate between the two. The vaccines are available and should be taken immediately for your own safety, ” he said.
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