A total of 4.40 lakh frontline health workers have registered to get vaccinated in Tamil Nadu during the COVID-19 vaccination drive that started on Saturday (January 16) and will be carried out 166 government and private centres in the state.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the nation-wide campaign, Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami inaugurated Tamil Nadu’s vaccination drive at Rajaji Government General Hospital in Madurai. The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association president Dr K Senthil was the first person in the state to receive the vaccination.
At each government centre, a total of only 100 frontline health workers will be vaccinated in a day and the dose will be administered only to those who voluntarily register on the CoWIN app. They will be intimated about the time and place for the vaccination on the eve of the day allotted for them.
Government hospitals enrolled their employees to get vaccinated, but not all of them showed the willingness to receive the vaccine. Those whose names were on the vaccination list but expressed hesitation were cajoled by their senior medical officers to get the vaccine.
The signing of consent forms and photo ID verification were done a day prior instead of at the spot of the vaccination.
The vaccination programme was affected in places with slow internet connectivity, like in the Nilgiris district. The slowdown in the Co-Win server compounded matters and delayed the vaccination process further. The district has been allotted three government centres for vaccination — a district headquarters hospital at Ooty, a sub-divisional hospital at Coonoor and a primary health centre at Ketti.
“It takes 5 to 10 minutes to vaccinate a person. We didn’t face any major problem anywhere at the three sites except for slow connection. Also, no adverse effects have been reported among those given the vaccine,” said Dr Balusamy, deputy director, department of health, Nilgiris district.
In many parts of the country, it was reported that due to the Co-Win server slowdown, beneficiaries didn’t receive their vaccination acknowledgement message through SMS. In the Nilgiris, beneficiaries said they did not receive the message even three hours after getting vaccinated.
“We were told that we would receive a message after getting vaccinated but they didn’t say when. Though many of us volunteered and got registered, we have not been asked to sign any consent forms,” said one of the beneficiaries.
Talking to The Federal, district collector Innocent Divya said all the persons who got vaccinated received an acknowledgement message on their mobiles. “All the people who were vaccinated got the message. Similarly, all the primary health centres in the district were equipped with freezers to store the vaccines,” she said.
“The people who got vaccinated were advised not to take alcohol for 28 days. Otherwise, there is no restriction on taking food. The workers are allowed to get vaccinated till 9 pm in the government centres,” said Dr Balusamy.
The state has received 5.12 lakh Covishield vaccine dosages and 20,000 dosages of Covaxine so far for the first phase of the vaccination drive.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has deputed officials to monitor the vaccination process in the country. Dr Naveen, a WHO monitoring member for the Nilgiris, said the preparedness is good. However, the turnout is very low and that is the case all over India.
“We have been appointed to look at the vaccination process and see if the vaccines are delivered properly and the cold storage are maintained well. As far as the Co-Win software is concerned, the delay in getting the acknowledgement messages have been reported not only in hilly areas but from across the country. As soon as the server’s functioning gets back to normal, the beneficiaries will receive the e-certificates,” he said.