Slow start to shifting vaccination sites to schools and colleges

It has been over 10 days since government announcement

Although it has been over 10 days since the State government announced that vaccination drives will move out of government hospitals and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and instead be held on the premises of schools and colleges, only a few hospitals have done so to date.

At the time of announcing the decision, Deputy Chief Minister C. N. Ashwath Narayan had underscored the need to separate people due for their shot from patients visiting the hospital for treatment or testing. A few hospitals, like K.C. General Hospital, have shifted the vaccination site to a nearby school, but a majority have yet to make the transition. Health Commissioner K.V. Thrilok Chandra said that the process has begun. “We are in the processing of figuring the logistics and finding vaccination sites outside health care centres,” he said.

Citizens as well as healthcare workers are worried about the risk of cross-infection, which has been reported at vaccination sites in hospitals. Many who are due for their second shot are waiting for more vaccinate sites to be set up outside government hospitals and PHC.

Namrata K., a private company employee said, “I need to get my second shot soon, but my family is asking me to wait as the number of cases are high and they do not want me to enter a hospital right now.”

Staff at government hospitals, too, are hoping that the government will not delay this shift. “Our hospital also has COVID-19 patients, but a large part of our time and energy is spent on the vaccination process. People who are not able to get vaccinated create a lot of chaos and there are clashes at the hospital. If the vaccination drive is moved out of the hospital, we will be able to treat COVID-19 patients better,” he said.

When contacted, officials with the Department of Health and Family Welfare said “We will ask hospitals to contact schools and colleges in their vicinity and conduct vaccination camps there. This will also ensure that nurses and other staff do not have to commute long distances and vaccines can be transported safely from the hospital.”

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