Jaipur: District collectors across Rajasthan will line up to take their coronavirus vaccination shots today, with the state hoping to inoculate lakhs of frontline workers, including policemen and women, in the battle against the contagious virus.
The state government is hopeful that the sight of senior officials taking the vaccine will send the right message to those lower down the chain and the general public – the the Covid vaccines are safe and effective, and should be received by whomever is identified on the priority list.
India’s vaccination drive, which began January 16 after two vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and AstraZeneca-Oxford University’s Covishield were approved – has been hailed as one of the fastest in the world, but many are still uncertain about possible side effects.
The second phase of the vaccination will include jabs for district collectors, revenue officials, police personnel and sanitation workers. Around 2.4 lakh people will be vaccinated.
“It is important to take the vaccine… there are new strains one hears of and it is for every individual to take the vaccine. If the District Collector takes it, it sends a good message – that a senior official has taken it (and) it is safe. It is like a certificate,” Namit Mehta, the District Collector of Bikaner, along the state’s western border, told NDTV.
Around 12,000 health workers have been vaccinated in this district.
“We have had no problems and now from my patwari (administrative officer) upwards, SDMs, ADMs and myself… we are all ready for the vaccination,” he said.
Rajasthan is among the best-performing states in terms of coronavirus vaccination, with around 63 per cent of those prioritised – in the first phase – getting the vaccine doses.
Healthcare workers in the state have recognised the need to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“It is important we take this vaccine as we are always coming in contact with infected patients,” Usha Chaudhary, a nurse, said.
One of the reasons the state has managed to do so well is upscaling of vaccination sites. When the vaccines were rolled out on January 16, they were administered at 167 places across the state.
Today, that number has increased to around 1,000.
“We have been doing 800 to 1,200 sites in a day. Government of India said you have to have 167 sites (but) now we have (an average of) 1,000 sites per day and we can do 60,000 to 70,000 vaccinations in a day,” Siddharth Mahajan, the Health Secretary, said.
Around 2.62 lakh doses of Covishield and around 1.77 lakh doses of Covaxin have been allotted to the state for the second phase of the vaccination drive.