Patients on palliative care to get Covid jabs

The Covid vaccination of palliative patients is set to begin in the district this week, according to a top official at the health department.

Published: 02nd June 2021 05:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2021 05:17 AM   |  A+A-

COVID Vaccine

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Covid vaccination of palliative patients is set to begin in the district this week, according to a top official at the health department. The district presently has more than 31,000 bedridden and palliative patients. “We have instructed all health officers to formulate a list of such patients under their jurisdiction. We need to mobilise a good task force for the vaccination of these patients and this will be implemented by roping in caregivers in the field. A road map has to be prepared for this and the vaccination will begin this week itself,” the official said. 

On Monday, the state government released the guidelines for the Covid-19 vaccination of bedridden patients above the age of 45 years. The district has more than 15,000 bedridden patients, of which half of the patients cannot be transported or brought out of their homes. “This is one of the challenges we will face as they cannot be brought out of their homes. While we can vaccinate about 12 people in an hour in normal cases, the time gets reduced to one patient in an hour in the case of palliative patients. And the patient needs to be observed for over half an hour after the vaccination. We need good human resource to implement this and a proper plan,” he said. 

The district panchayat had earlier decided on vaccinating the palliative patients.”The scarcity of vaccine is the only issue we are facing. We have over four mobile units ready and have adequate staff. The palliative patients who can travel to the vaccination centre will be brought to the centre. Mobile vaccination units will be deployed to the house of patients who cannot travel to the vaccination centre,” said D Suresh Kumar, president, district panchayat. The plan is to set up two or three vaccination centres in each anchayat. According to him, each panchayat is expected to have an average of 100 -150 palliative patients residing in it.   

The guidelines released by the government also provide impetus to the long-standing demand of community-based organisations that have been advocating the need to get palliative patients vaccinated. The instructions state that the consent of the patient needs to be taken for vaccination and that the participation of people involved in daily home care should also be ensured. “Many patients and their families had requested that they be also given the vaccination. I

n most cases, the whole family gets vaccinated except for the palliative patient, and contamination chances are high. Since we have all the data, a joint effort between community-based organisations like ours and the government will ease the implementation of the vaccine programme,” says Narayanan Puthukudy, secretary of the  Kerala chapter of the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC). The organisation had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in March seeking the implementation of vaccination in palliative patients. 

The Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences had earlier sought permission to operate its own vaccination centre to reach out to palliative patients. “These patients can’t be brought out of their homes. If they are transported the risk of getting infected is higher. They will get exposed to a lot of people on their way to the vaccination centre,” M R Rajagopal, director TIPS and chairman of Pallium India.

The district recorded another 2,345 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday. The test positivity rate is 17.6%. As many as 2,023 people have been cured of the infection. At present, 14,868 patients are currently under treatment in the district. Up to 3,338 people are in quarantine with symptoms.

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