Medical staff receives first shot of COVID vaccine in Chennai

  • | Saturday | 16th January, 2021

Tami Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami inaugurated the COVID vaccination drive in Tamil Nadu at the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai today. The first shot was given to K. Senthil, president of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association.

Tami Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami inaugurated the COVID vaccination drive in Tamil Nadu at the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai today. The first shot was given to K. Senthil, president of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association.

Dr C Vijayabaskar, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu said that the state health department has made arrangements for vaccination at 166 centres in the first phase.

The vaccine shall be administered to healthcare workers in the first phase.

Ten doctors, who are pioneers in Tamil Nadu shall be administered the vaccine to avoid anxiety among the public. The vaccine was tested for immunogenesis and safety and has passed all the trials.

The first consignment of 5,36,500 doses of Covishield, developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India, reached Chennai from Pune in a flight last week. The vaccine vials were sent to 10 regional vaccine stores across the state by road.

Dr. Vinay Kumar, Joint Director, Directorate of Public Healthcare and Preventive Medicine, Chennai said that more than 480,000 healthcare providers including doctors have registered through the Co-WIN software to get the vaccination.

In order to create a feeling of trust, 10 eminent persons will get vaccinated. Prathap C Reddy, Chairman - Apollo Hospitals Group, Therani Rajan, Dean of Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital at Chennai, Dr Sudha Seshayyan, Dean of Madras Medical College and VC of Dr MGR medical university will be among those who received Covaxin today.

The choice of vaccine (Covishield, Covaxin) is purely voluntary. He said, it is important that the recipient is given the same vaccine in the second dose (after 28 days) as well.

Across vaccination centers arrangements were going on in full swing since last week including trial runs. Security arrangements were tightened across these centers. Besides, local police personnel, around 1,500 army officers were deployed across the state.

Each vaccine centre will have the capacity to vaccinate 100 persons a day. 

At Government Hospital in Chennai, two centers were created, one for the Covishield vaccine and another for Covaxin. A total of 52 persons will get Covaxin today and 31 persons will get Covishield vaccine at RGGGH Chennai.

A separate exit and entry is created, the candidate who is taking vaccination needs to wear masks throughout the process and must maintain social distancing norms as per the protocol.

At the entry point, Vaccinator 1 verified the identity of the candidate and Vaccinator 2 at the centre checked the person’s name on the registered list of beneficiaries in the CoWin app. A consent form needs to be signed by the person getting vaccinated.

The state has already registered a list of beneficiaries and is checking if the software is running well. During phase-1, around 500,000 people including health workers such as doctors, nurses and paramedics and frontline workers including police and uniformed service personnel will receive the vaccine.

After the candidate is vaccinated, a nurse/health worker clicks on the ‘yes’ button on the CoWIN app, and the candidate receives an SMS. The electronic vaccine intelligence network (eVIN), now converted into a CoWIN platform, will track details of potential beneficiaries for the Covid-19 vaccine, the place where he/she is likely to get the vaccination, pre, and post-vaccination -- including issuing an electronic certificate, following up for the second dose through detailed text messages and reminder.

The person who has been vaccinated was asked to wait in the observation room for 30 minutes for observation. The health department has stocked all first aid and emergency medications. The observation room was created to check if the person experiences any changes after the vaccination and all kinds of drugs will be kept ready in the room. He/she will be observed for 30 minutes after vaccination.

All the rooms are equipped with high-tech machines and sophisticated gadgets connected to high-speed internet.

To ensure social distancing norms are followed, the infrastructure is created in rooms that have enough space, with proper cold chain and biomedical waste management facilities. Strong infection control practices, including screening for symptoms of fever, were also created.

Each vaccine centre will have the capacity to vaccinate 100 persons a day.

Similar infrastructures were created at around 47,000 vaccination sites with a total capacity to store 25 million vaccines. 21,000 health workers have been trained. Each centre will vaccinate not more than 100 people a day to avoid crowding, according to Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan

The comprehensive list, including about half a million health workers, all other frontline personnel like those from municipal administration, revenue and police, the elderly, and those with co-morbidities is ready, he said.

Each centre had five staff members such as vaccinators, and doctors as supervisors. Teams headed by the Joint Commissioner (Health) of the Corporation, Collectors at the district-level, and the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the state-level were formed.

Radhakrishnan said that nearly 500,000 healthcare workers were registered for the vaccine in the first phase. This would be followed by frontline workers, and later, the elderly. Persons aged less than 50 with co-morbidities, and the general public would follow. The official said work to register the details of healthcare workers was 95% complete. Healthcare workers in all healthcare facilities -- government, private and armed forces -- were being registered.

Tamil Nadu alone has as many as 51 walk-in coolers and 2,800 secondary cold storage points ready. Radhakrishnan said they are checking if the cooling is sufficient in the vaccine boxes as they will have to reach remote areas. In different municipal corporations, zone-level teams were formed for monitoring, while block-level teams were formed by District Collectors.

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