BHUBANESWAR: Doctors, nurses and paramedics were the priority group among the healthcare workers (HCWs) during the first phase of vaccination. The preference was given to the Covid warriors so that they can remain protected or have less complication if infected again and continue their service.
It may sound strange but 22 per cent (pc) HCWs of AIIMS Bhubaneswar have not been administered a single dose and 39 pc have not got second dose.
Result: the healthcare workers who had not taken the jab are getting infected and wary of rising cases among HCWs and patients, the AIIMS authorities have announced to shut down the OPD services from Monday onwards till further notice.
According to a communication made to the Health and Family Welfare department, of the 4,447 HCWs in AIIMS-BBSR, 3,457 had taken the first dose and 2,719 had got both the doses of Covaxin till April 17.
Although officials did not divulge the number of HCWs, who are now down with Covid, sources said many of them had not taken the vaccine. One doctor, who tested positive, has no severe complications as he had taken both the doses.
One of the senior doctors who was in-charge of the Covid treatment during the first wave last year has not yet taken the shot despite several rounds of counselling by his fellow colleagues.
While the HCWs in most of the hospitals run by the State government and private promoters have been vaccinated and not a single public health facility has suspended the OPD services in the State, AIIMS is the first to announce suspension of walk-in OPD services from April 26.
Patients from Odisha and West Bengal largely depend upon the premier hospital which has a normal OPD footfall of around 3,000 patients every day.
AIIMS Director Dr Gitanjali Batmanabane, who was the first to take jab on January 16, said she has been insisting all HCWs to get vaccinated.
“We can motivate but not force anyone. Some women HCWs could not take the jab because they were either pregnant or lactating. Now people are getting administered after rise in cases,” she said.
Even as cases in AIIMS are rising, the institution is yet to have a dedicated Covid unit for patients. Last time it had a 200-bed unit with 20 ICU beds.
The hospital is also facing the shortage of medical consumables like sterile gloves forcing the doctors and nurses to reuse them after sterilisation.
Dr Batnanabane said the scarcity of sterile gloves is a global phenomenon. She, however, assured that the hospital will soon have more beds reserved for Covid patients since the flow of general patients will come down due to temporary closure of OPD services.