At the forefront of the vaccine drive

Although the COVID-19 vaccine is available in enough quantities for medical and health workers in Karnataka, the response has been lukewarm at best. However, the state stands first in the vaccination programme so far.


Victoria Hospital, Bengaluru

Adline Bhawna Minj and Tanya Priyadarshan

Bengaluru: The day the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) announced the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine, every state in the country planned its strategy for the vaccination drive. Karnataka now leads the programme with 62 per cent of frontline workers being vaccinated on the very first day.

Dr B.L. Sujatha Rathod, Director of Minto Ophthalmic Hospital, said, “the health department of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) took a number of steps to make people aware of the vaccine from day one. The educated lot are specially made aware. The health care professionals, be it simple Anganwadi workers or nurses, took it upon themselves to bring about more awareness, and there have also been a number of awareness programmes.” She believes that the media has also played a significant role in educating people to get vaccinated. Minto Ophthalmic Hospital identified 170 people of whom 110 voluntarily got vaccinated.

Dr B.L.Sujatha Rathod, Director of Minto Ophthalmic Hospital.

Dr Lakshmipathy, Nodal Officer of the COVID-19 vaccine drive of K.C. General Hospital, shared some unhappy thoughts. “Even though Karnataka is leading, it is not up to our expectations. We thought that the public response would be overwhelming and it would be difficult to manage the crowd but then that has not happened.” Dr Lakshmipathy took the first vaccine shot to encourage others to come forward and take the shot. He has also counselled all the groups of health care workers about the problems which could arise after taking the vaccine and the risks associated with not taking it. The protocols issued by the government were clearly explained to the people receiving the vaccine.

Dr Lakshmipathy, Nodal Officer of Vaccination Drive of K.C General Hospital.

Two doses are required to be taken with a gap of one month. The first dose primes the body and the antigen which enters it will initiate a reaction to create antibodies. The result will be augmented if boosted by the second dose. Dr Lakshmipathy said, “the vaccine is not fool-proof, even after taking two doses of vaccine people need to take precautions because they may still get infected but the complications might be fewer.” Since the vaccine is not tested on people below 18 years and pregnant women, it is not advisable for them to get vaccinated.

While the virus has impacted the whole world, vaccines are only available at select hospitals. The question is, how will people, especially from remote areas, receive it? To that Dr B.L. Sujatha Rathod said, “all the primary health care centres (PHC) will be mobilized through the BBMP. It will be well organised for everyone. Measures will surely be initiated in which people can come to the nearest PHC and get vaccinated.”

The Vaccines may be available by March to the common man and it will cost a few hundred rupees. As the government is expected to consider every section of society and bring down the cost of the vaccine considerably for those who cannot afford it.

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