Fewer health workers turn up for vaccination in Delhi

16.7% dip in numbers on Monday; 24 ‘minor’, 2 ‘major’ adverse events reported

Delhi witnessed a dip of 16.7% in the number of healthcare workers turning up for the COVID-19 vaccination on Monday as compared to Saturday, the first day of the drive, when 4,319 beneficiaries were administered the vaccine shot.

A total of 3,598 workers were inoculated against a target of 8,136 on the second day of the drive, according to the data compiled from the 11 districts in the Capital. There are 81 centres in Delhi and the target is about 100 people per centre.

Several officials and hospital authorities said the numbers are less as many healthcare workers want to wait and watch, given the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped considerably.

“Since Covaxin is being used, people are apprehensive as its trials are still not complete. Also, many nurses are saying they will wait for a while and take the vaccine later. The numbers would improve if there are more assurances and counselling,” said a member of the nurses’ union of AIIMS.

An official at the Lok Nayak Hospital said the workers are “apprehensive” and they are calling them over the phone. “Nothing can be done about it as it is completely voluntary,” the official said.

“There were 26 AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunisation) — 24 of them ‘minor’ and two in the ‘major’ category,” said a Delhi government spokesperson.

Media not allowed

Mediapersons were not allowed at many vaccination sites, including AIIMS and Lok Nayak Hospital. A guard, who was hospitalised at AIIMS after taking the vaccine on Saturday, was discharged on Sunday evening.

The dip in the number of beneficiaries was seen in most hospitals. Only 20 healthcare workers came for vaccination at the Delhi government-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) on Monday, down from 45 on Saturday, said the hospital’s spokesperson.

The figure was 12 at Lok Nayak Hospital, which inoculated 32 workers on Saturday. Only eight workers turned up at AIIMS, said officials.

In the Central government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, the number increased to 69 on Monday from 31 on Saturday.

The authorities are trying to “motivate” the healthcare workers to take the vaccine. “All the HoDs (head of departments) of the hospital have been asked to motivate the staffers, tell them about the benefits of taking the vaccine,” said Dr. Chhavi Gupta of RGSSH. She said the hospital is calling each beneficiary over the phone as soon as it gets the list of the 100 names for the next day from the district administration.

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