Some 426 (60.85 per cent) of the total 700 healthcare workers were administered the first jabs of COVID vaccine ‘Covishield’ at seven vaccination centres in the state on Saturday.
At four centres in North Goa district, 242 people (60.5 per cent) were vaccinated, while 184 (61.33 per cent) people were inoculated at three centres of South Goa district.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar were present at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bamboilim on Saturday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme through video conferencing.
Raghunath Bhojji, a multi-tasking staffer, received the jab of the first dose of the vaccine at the GMC, which is the main centre in the state. Subsequently, he was felicitated by Sawant and Javadekar.
In North Goa, 42 healthcare workers turned up for inoculation at the GMC, 38 beneficiaries at the North Goa District Hospital in Mapusa, 62 at the Healthway Hospital at Old Goa while at the Dona Paula-based Manipal Hospital, 100 healthcare workers including senior consultants were vaccinated.
In South Goa district, 65 healthcare workers were inoculated at the Hospicio Hospital, Margao, 49 at the sub-district hospital, Ponda, and 70 beneficiaries were vaccinated at the sub-district hospital at Chicalim
The healthcare workers who received the first dose were asked to be present on February 13 at their respective sites to receive the second dose of the vaccine.
Three beneficiaries developed ‘mild’ adverse event following the immunisation (AEFIs) at the Manipal Hospital. However, none of them required any medication.
As per the details provided through the Health Minister’s office by professor and head of the department of preventive and social medicine Dr Jagadish Cacodkar, who is the nodal officer for COVID vaccination at the GMC, two beneficiaries developed ‘minor’ adverse reactions.
District immunisation officer at DHS Dr Rajendra Borkar claimed that no major AEFIs were reported during the first session of COVID vaccination across all the seven centres.
The DHS said that every session site were well equipped and organised as per the guidelines of the Union ministry of health and family welfare for smooth vaccination, observation and management of AEFIs.
Each session site had five experienced and trained vaccination officers in three designated rooms i.e. waiting room, vaccination room and observation room wherein identity of each healthcare worker beneficiary was verified followed by the ‘Covishield’ vaccination. Thereafter the beneficiaries were kept in the observation room for 30 minutes to monitor any AEFI.
The vaccination centre was conducted under the supervision of senior-most officials from the DHS who visited every site to oversee the inoculation.
Dorothy Francis, nursing in-charge, who was the first beneficiaries to receive COVID vaccine at the Manipal Hospital, appealed to all to be positive and to come forward to receive the vaccine.
“Initially I was very hesitant… I got a lot of support from the hospital management and my colleagues. Now after taking the jab I just want to say that it is not at all problematic, the initial prick which I got is not as painful as other injections,” she said.
State epidemiologist Dr Utkarsh Betodkar said the COVID vaccination programme is one step closer to end the pandemic.
“Today’s day is a milestone and it will change the way we look at COVID. The pandemic will be controlled globally when more people take vaccine,” he remarked.
When asked what reaction could a beneficiary develop after taking a vaccine jab, the epidemiologist explained, “Individuals may develop side effects such as mild fever, pain or mild swelling at the place of injection. These side effects are temporary and should go away on their own after some time.”
He informed that the beneficiaries have been provided with contact numbers of doctors who have been appointed as nodal officers. The beneficiaries have been told to report any mild adverse effects if they start experiencing even after leaving the vaccination centres.
Prominent oncologist Dr Shekhar Salkar urged the beneficiaries not to turn to social media and highlight their minor side effects, claiming that similar mild headache and fever are experienced by an individual even when other vaccines are taken.
The Union health ministry has asked people who are allergic to any vaccines, injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, and also pregnant/suspected pregnant women and lactating mothers to avoid COVID vaccine.
A senior officer at the DHS, informed that the second session of the vaccination drive will be planned and announced soon after assessing the first sessions’ activities.
PTI ADDS FROM NEW DELHI: Thousands of healthcare and sanitary workers at the frontline of India’s COVID-19 battle got their first jabs on Saturday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out the world’s largest vaccination drive against the pandemic, showing the light at the end of a 10-month tunnel that upended millions of lives.
More than one crore cases and 1.5 lakh fatalities later, India took its first steps out of the pandemic with shots of the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines being administered at medical centres across the country to a collective sigh of relief that this could finally be the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 trauma.
Sanitation worker Manish Kumar became the first recipient of the vaccination drive at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the health ministry said.
“I had good sleep last night, came here (hospital) in the morning and talked to the other staff who were to get the shot,” the 34-year-old who got a shot of the indigenously developed Covaxin told PTI.
“Many of them were scared. So I went to my seniors and said I should be given the vaccine first. I wanted to prove to my colleagues that there is no need to be scared,” he added as speculation swirled in some quarters about safety levels.
Injecting confidence in the people, several high-profile persons, including AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, NITI Aayog member V K Paul, who is also head of an empowered group on medical equipment and management plan to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, Serum Institute of India’s Adar Poonawallah and West Bengal minister Nirmal Maji, also received their first shot of the two-dose vaccine.
Addressing the nation ahead of the launch, the Prime Minister reminded people that two doses of the vaccine are very important and asked them to continue with masks and social distancing even after receiving the jabs.
Reassuring people that emergency use authorisation was given to the two ‘made in India’ vaccines only after scientists were convinced of their safety and effectiveness, he said the vaccines will ensure a decisive victory for the country over the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
“Dawaai bhi, kadaai bhi,” Modi said, asking people to guard against complacency and follow COVID appropriate behaviour.
Striking an emotional chord, Modi spoke of the disruption the pandemic had caused to people’s lives, isolating victims of the coronavirus and denying the dead traditional last rites.
In a choked voice, the Prime Minister also referred to sacrifices made by healthcare and frontline workers, hundreds of whom lost their lives to the viral infection.
“Our vaccination programme is driven by humanitarian concerns, those exposed to maximum risk will get priority,” the Prime Minister said.
From the heights of Ladakh to coastal Kerala, across the sprawl that is India, there was an almost festive air at many hospitals and medical centres decorated with flowers, balloons and buntings. Prayers, and sweets too, were offered in several places. One video showed a vaccine box being garlanded as a nurse performed an ‘arti’.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was at AIIMS when the vaccinations began to spontaneous applause, said the two vaccines are a ‘sanjivani’, life infusing, in the fight against the pandemic.
“We have won the battle against polio and now we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against COVID. I want to congratulate all frontline workers on this day,” Vardhan told reporters shortly after the first vaccine shots were administered.