Vaccination drive: Jab and job go hand in hand for doctors

New Delhi: Spending barely half-an-hour under mandatory observation after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine shot, Dr Sunny Kalra lost no time in going back to attending patients at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, this time with renewed confidence.

Although happy to be vaccinated on the very first day of the world’s largest vaccination programme on Saturday, what really broadened Dr Kalra’s smile was the sense of relief that he saw on the faces of his patients.

“My doctor is vaccinated. Hurray!’. It was that kind of sense of security and relief they had when I told them that I have just got inoculated and they are in safe hands.

“That is what made me realise how important it was for them as well,” said Dr Kalra, consultant Chest and Respiratory Diseases, BLK Super Speciality Hospital at Rajendra Place.

“I am very confident that this assurance that we now have after getting the vaccine will motivate all health workers further to do their best for the patients,” he added.

BLK Super Speciality, Max Hospital, Fortis Hospital, Apollo Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital are among the private hospitals chosen as the vaccination sites by the administration.

Messages of congratulations, doctors posing with a victory sign for the media with their infectious smiles — visible even under the cover of mask — and the many ‘just got jabbed’ selfie by the health workers, it was a rare and happy day at the BLK hospital, which has witnessed many dreary days in the past due to the ongoing pandemic.

“I was already motivated enough, and then the PM’s speech on TV which I saw just moments before I was getting inoculated also helped. I had a good sleep last night when they (the hospital administration) told me that I will be inoculated today.

“I had a good breakfast and now I look forward to a fulfilling day,” said Dr Sandeep Nayar, senior director and head of department, Chest and Respiratory Diseases, who was the first one to be vaccinated at the hospital.

“There is no local or systemic reaction. I am as healthy as before. Also, I am happy that as an HOD I could lead by example and hope there won’t be any doubts in the mind of others regarding the vaccine now,” said a visibly calm and relieved Dr Nayar.

Though there was no apprehension whatsoever in the mind of doctors and healthcare workers, the same can’t be said for the families waiting back home with bated breath.

Dr Kalra, whose phone kept buzzing with messages from his family members asking ‘if he is doing fine’, said it only stopped after he sent his photo on the family whatsapp group telling “it (vaccine) is done and I am doing absolutely fine”.

“There will always be those two or three members in your family who are worried about things. It was the same in my case as well. I, as a doctor, was always confident.

“Now, when they know I am doing fine, they are also feeling relaxed. It will help them to prepare for themselves when the time comes — which I am sure will be sooner enough,” said the 39-year-old.

According to the hospital, the whole staff, which consists of approximately 3,000 people, will be vaccinated in another 10-12 days. The hospital administered Oxford’s Covishield for the vaccination drive on Saturday.

The Delhi government has received 2.74 lakh doses of the vaccine so far from the Centre which would be sufficient for 1.2 lakh health workers.

There are a total of 2.4 lakh health workers in the national capital and more vaccine doses are expected to arrive soon, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive and asserted that the made-in-India vaccines being rolled out will ensure a “decisive victory” for the country over the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also urged people not to believe in rumours and listen to experts who say COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

“I have interacted with those vaccinated. No one has any problem. All are happy that they will get rid of coronavirus,” the chief minister said at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital where he inspected the vaccination drive.

The vaccination exercise was conducted at 81 sites across all 11 districts in Delhi. Six central government hospitals — AIIMS, Safdarjung Hospital, RML Hospital, Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and two ESI hospitals — are also part of the drive.

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