BHUBANESWAR: Amid the apprehensions over the efficacy and safety of Covid-19 vaccines, Odisha government’s decision to initially start the inoculation with Class IV employees like safai karmacharis has not gone down well with the health experts.
They said it is alright to launch the vaccination drive with one such employee, but senior doctors and health officials should set a precedence and become role models by getting administered first.Noted virologist Dr T Jacob John said at a time when a lot of questions on the safety of vaccines hang in air, the doctors should be listed first to receive the vaccine so that others can gather confidence.
“When you go down the list to get the lower level staff vaccinated, then again you are building mistrust. In that case, the Prime Minister should first take the vaccine and the process be telecast to build trust among the people,” he said. The purpose of vaccination, Dr John said, is to reduce the number of deaths. “Healthcare workers like doctors and nurses, who have to interact with many patients are at higher risk of infection than the persons who sweep or clean the hospital surroundings,” he pointed out.
Several healthcare workers, on the condition of anonymity, said they do not want to get administered initially and wait till the doctors receive the jab and certify that the vaccine is safe. Several doctors also claimed there is no clarity on the vaccination plan of the doctors. State president of Indian Medical Association, Odisha, Dr Kamala Kanta Panigrahy said the doctors body is yet to get intimation about the vaccination of doctors.
“We have been contacting the CDMOs, but they are also not clear when the doctors will get vaccinated,” he said. Health officials insisted that there is no segregation of healthcare workers and all enrolled including doctors will be vaccinated.
Additional Chief Secretary PK Mohapatra said districts have been asked to slot some eminent doctors and healthcare professionals, those who can influence others, to first get the vaccine. “The beneficiaries listed for the vaccination drive will get the message directly from the Co-WIN online system about their session site from Thursday night,” he added.
Health workers refuse to take vaccine
Bhubaneswar: Hours before the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, around 15,000 field level health workers on Thursday announced that they will not get vaccinated in protest against the State government’s apathy towards cadre restructuring and change of designation. The members of four association under the aegis of Odisha State Male and Female Multipurpose Health Workers’/Health Supervisors’ United Association said they will wear black badges from Friday as a symbolic protest.
They threatened to resort to agitation from February 1 if the government failed to fulfil their demands. “Many of us are highly educated with professional degrees. But we are being treated as labourers as the government has designated us as workers. We have been demanding to change the designation and give another term, but to no avail,” said Mamata Nayak, a leader of the association.
The field level health workers, who have been engaged in immunisation programmes, leprosy and TB eradication programmes, played a significant role in management of Covid-19. But the government is yet to take decision on their cadre restructuring despite repeated demands, they added.