COVID vaccination center opened at GMC Srinagar

J&K health department today opened a vaccination center at Government Medical College Srinagar to reach out to more healthcare workers. In the past three days, since 16 January, when COVID19 vaccination started in J&K, 4,300 health workers have received the shot.

State Immunization Officer, Dr Qazi Haroon said that 2000 people got vaccinated on the inaugural day itself. On Monday, he said, 1200 people received the vaccine while on Tuesday, 1100 people got the shot. The vaccine is currently being administered to frontline healthcare workers only, in order to mitigate their risk of getting infected with SARS-CoV2 while delivering their duties.

At the vaccination center, which was started at SMHS Hospital today, the first one in GMC Srinagar associated hospitals, 25 healthcare workers received the vaccine.

Prof Saleem Khan, head department of community medicine at this medical college said 16 more vaccine centers would be made operational in the coming days to cater to more healthcare workers. “We need to cover more workers and we will have one or two vaccine centers in each of our hospitals,” he said.

Giving details, he said, there would be three sites at SMHs Hospital, three at GMC Srinagar, two at Lal Ded Hospital, two at GB Pant Hospital, two at AMT School, two at Nursing College, one each at Super Specialty Hospital, Bone and Joint Hospital, Psychiatric Diseases Hospital, Chest Diseases Hospital and Kashmir Nursing Home.

However, the pace of vaccination across UT, many officials said, is slower than was expected.

A senior medico at SKIMS Soura said the primary reason was the apprehension about the safety of the vaccine among the doctors. “The events in Norway and the manner in which a particular vaccine was approved in India have done a lot of damage to the initiative,” he said.

Norway, it may be mentioned, reported death of 29 people this week, after they had received Pfizer vaccine. However, the Norwegian government has denied any link between the deaths and the vaccine and said that the patients died due to their “underlying diseases”, news agencies reported on Tuesday.

Another medical officer who has received the vaccine recently said that another reason for slow pace of the drive was the CoWin app. “It is mostly not working and that slows the speed a great deal,” he said.

However, many senior healthcare workers, including renowned doctors have come forward to support the vaccination and urged people to take Covishield vaccine being administered in the hospitals of J&K.

Prof Parvaiz Koul, head department of internal and pulmonary medicine at SKIMS Soura said that the vaccine being given in J&K has a “sustentative safety data”. “I believe it is safe to use this vaccine and it has its efficacy validated too,” he said.

Many heads of departments at SKIMS Soura have taken the vaccine, in addition to the director of the Institute, who was the first one to take the shot in J&K.