Frontline health staff demand priority in vaccination drives

It will take some time to cover entire list of healthcare workers, say health dept officials

Published: 22nd January 2021 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd January 2021 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Doctors and other healthcare staff in the frontline of the state’s battle against the Covid pandemic are demanding priority in vaccination drives currently covering 100 beneficiaries per centre each day. While healthcare workers are being covered in the first phase of vaccination, complaints are rising that some of those exposed to coronavirus patients frequently are falling behind in the priority list even when the turnout remains low at many vaccination centres. 

Currently, the state has around 1,100 vaccination centres and the authorities are planning to ramp up the number of vaccination centres by at least 10 per cent in the coming days.Joseph Chacko, president of the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA), said frontline workers working in close contact with Covid patients are dissatisfied with the vaccination drives. 

“The state needs to increase the number of vaccination centres and cover frontline workers in an aggressive manner,” he said. According to the association, complaints are rife from part of the doctors and nurses who are working at government hospitals.“The government is saying that people are hesitant to take the vaccine out of fear and a section of healthcare workers are skipping the shots. But there are thousands of frontline workers who want to take the vaccine without any delay. The first priority should be given to  doctors and healthcare staff who are exposed every day,” Joseph said.

He said the initial days of the vaccination drives should focus solely on frontline staff, who are more vulnerable. A senior official with the health department said the Centre has brought in some changes and now the district health authorities can bring in registered beneficiaries to fill the empty slots at each vaccination centre. “We are implementing the drive based on the protocol set by the Centre. We don’t have any right to select the beneficiaries and the list is generated randomly. Now, the Centre has brought in some changes and we can pull beneficiaries from the registered list for the unclaimed slots,” the official said. 

The health department officials maintained that it would take some time to cover the entire list of healthcare workers.“If we take the Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital, there are around 7,000 to 8,000 healthcare workers and it would take some time to cover all of them. In four days, we may be able to cover 400 of them. Everybody has to remain patient,” said an official. 

Healthcare workers eligible for vaccination 
Kasaragod    6,139
Kannur     27,326
Wayanad     12,010
Kozhikode     33,799
Malappuram     23,880
Palakkad    25,717
Thrissur    31,620
Ernakulam    62,000
Idukki    7,689
Kottayam    25,538
Alappuzha    18,656
P’thitta    18,367
Kollam    21,576
T’puram    52,731

6,229 recover, TPR at 10.34
The state on Thursday reported 6,334 new cases of Covid-19. The new patients include one person who had returned from the UK. The deaths of 21 more people were confirmed as due to Covid-19, taking the death toll to 3,545. As many as 6,229 people recovered on the day. With this, the total recoveries in the state climbed up to 7.96 lakh. The daily test positivity rate stood at 10.34 per cent. The state has 7,69,771 active cases while 90,90,900 samples have been tested so far. Over 11,721 people are seeking treatment for Covid-19 at various hospitals in the state.  Till now, 66 UK returnees have tested positive for Covid-19, of whom nine have contracted the new Covid strain.


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