1,500 COVID-19 vaccination centres were set up in districts across Uttar Pradesh. Gaon Connection travelled to Achalganj in Unnao to report on the vaccination drive at the community health centre there.
Unnao (Uttar Pradesh)
Anita Kushwaha, a health worker and ASHA sangini from Achalganj in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, arrived at the community health centre, on January 22 to receive COVID-19 vaccination along with a few of her colleagues. It was the first day of the vaccination campaign.
“We are vaccinated today and we will take forward the vaccination drive amongst the villagers who have been living in considerable fear and distress about the pandemic, but who are also unsure and hesitant to take the vaccination,” Kushwaha told Gaon Connection. She said she and her colleagues would weed out any inhibitions the local inhabitants may have about getting vaccinated.
On January 22, over 1,537 vaccination centres were set up in different districts of the state by the Uttar Pradesh government under the COVID-19 immunisation drive with an aim of vaccinating 100 health workers at each centre. A target of vaccinating about 1.5 lakh health workers in a day was set for the state. There were two vaccination centres at Achalganj to cater to 200 health workers. However, till 6 pm on that day, an estimated 59, 473 health workers were vaccinated.
A huge poster proclaiming, Hain Taiyaar Hum (We are ready!) greeted the visitors at the main gate of the Achalganj community health centre, about 65 kms from the state capital Lucknow. There were barricades to prevent overcrowding and the gate and vaccination area were festooned with balloons, giving it a festive look. At a counter set up at the gate, a number of women health workers had queued up for registration and after their documents were verified they were directed to the first and second floors of the community health centre to be vaccinated.
“All necessary preparations for the immunisation drive have been made for the campaign at the community health centre level,” Manish Bajpei, a doctor at the Achalganj health centre, told Gaon Connection. “Posters have been put up at various places to promote awareness and people are being asked to wear masks and follow social distancing even after the vaccination,” he added.
“I did not face any nausea or dizziness we were cautioned about before we went in to be vaccinated,” Kushwaha said. She added that her colleagues including a 52-year-old ASHA worker were fine too and had not reported any problem.
“We observed a good turnout of health workers for vaccination,” Brijesh Kumar, the medical superintendent at the community health centre, Achalganj, told Gaon Connection. More than 140 health workers were vaccinated in the morning between 10 am and 1.30 pm and no one faced any problem, he reported.
“We can now assure the villagers that the vaccination is safe and that they should get themselves vaccinated too,” said Kushwaha after she got her COVID-19 shot. In addition, she informed Gaon Connection that the polio immunisation drive would take off from 31st January. “We have been trained to motivate people to both get the COVID-19 vaccine, and give their children the polio drops,” she said.
Reiterating that there was no risk involved in getting vaccinated and that the people need not be apprehensive, Brijesh Kumar said, “It is India’s indigenous vaccine, tested by scientists and experts, so there should not be any doubts about its efficacy,” he said.
Fears of a possible adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine have been doing the rounds and after three health workers, who were administered the COVID-19 vaccination, died, the apprehensions have increased. One of the deceased was from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. The second death was reported from Bellary in Karnataka and the third from Gurugram, Haryana. While officials of the health ministry categorically stated that the deaths in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka were due to other causes and not linked to the vaccine, the third death reported from Gurugram is still being investigated.
The Achalganj community health centre will set up three vaccination centres on January 28 and with a target of vaccinating 300 health workers that day.
Reporting assistance: Sumit Yadav