Covid: Health department issues guidelines to ease hassle at govt vaccination centres
The health department has instructed all government vaccination centres to abide by guidelines aimed at reducing the waiting time, crowd size and risks of transmission outside the facilities.
The guidelines were issued by health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam a few days back but the health department had to re-issue them on Friday as the majority of the vaccination centres were not adhering to them.
Highlights of the guidelines
⚫ Display boards: Boards showing the number of jabs to be administered on a particular day are to be put up at each centre. This should be done to "dispel false hopes of same day/on spot vaccination..." the guidelines state.
Health department officials said that barring a few, none of the centres has put up the boards at prominent locations. “At a few centres, the boards have been set up near the entrance, far away from the people at the end of the queue,” a health department official said.
⚫ Tokens: Each vaccination centre should issue tokens to people queuing up for the jab. Health department officials said tokens would be distributed before the start of the day’s vaccination. Depending on the crowd, the distribution can start an hour before the vaccination begins or even before to avoid unnecessary queuing up from early hours.
The guidelines state there should be four slots for vaccination — two in the first half and two in the second — every day.
“Estimating that at least 40 people can be vaccinated in each slot, 160 or more can be given the jab subject to availability of doses,” an official said.
⚫ Tokens for next session: If there are more people in the queue than the number of doses on a given day, those who are not getting the jab will be issued tokens for the next day with specific slots.
⚫ Basic amenities: Vaccination centres should arrange for basic amenities such as chairs or benches, drinking water, washrooms, sanitisers and masks. “Temporary sheds for at least 50 persons may be created…. The waiting area must be well ventilated,” the guideline states.
Some officials in the CMC's health department said sheds and arrangements for drinking water had been made at some centres. “The challenge is to ensure shade for those standing in queues on small roads and in lanes,” an official said.
⚫ The elderly: “If a recipient aged 75 or more stands in the queue, the manager of the vaccination centre will have to ensure that he gets priority and doesn’t return without being vaccinated,” a health department official said.
The guidelines spell out that preference has to be given to senior citizens, disabled and those visibly ill. Officials said they have received complaints that the aged and the infirm were being made to stand in queues for hours. Many such people are returning without being vaccinated because of their inability to stand for such long durations.
⚫ Avoid mix-up: Separate sites should be demarcated for Covaxin and Covishield. This is particularly vital for those centres where both vaccines are being administered.
Bengal on Friday recorded 20,846 new infections, 136 deaths and 19,131 recoveries. The number of active cases has risen to over 1.31 lakh.
Of the 136 deaths, 34 were reported from Calcutta and 42 from North 24-Parganas. While Calcutta recorded 3,955 new infections, North 24-Parganas reported 4,197.