HYDERABAD: Call it coincidence or negligence of authorities, several senior citizens who went to crowded vaccine centres to get the Covid-19 shot have contracted the deadly infection within a week or two of their visit. Express spoke to several families who attributed the source of the infection to crowded centres. “I took my parents to Apollo Hospital for their vaccination on April 27. We were told to wait for the mandatory 30 minute observation period in a very crowded space. Within five days, I developed symptoms and tested positive. I think the source of the virus could be the crowded centre as I have not stepped out anywhere else since a month,” said a citizen on condition of anonymity.
Another citizen from Makthal mandal in Narayanpet district, Shivashankar Galla, revealed how his parents took the vaccine on April 7, and by April 16, they had Covid symptoms. “We never ventured outside except for the vaccine. It is likely that due to the rush at the centre, they caught the virus,” he said.
Another individual, Praneeth S, said, “At Shalivahana Nagar UPHC, the queues start at 7 am and hundreds wait there for at least 4-5 hours for the shot. My uncle, too, waited there and within 14 days, he tested positive. While one can’t say whether it is linked with the overcrowding at the centre, we also can’t say that the centre was the safest place to give the vaccine.”
On Monday as well, as the State organised a special camp to administer a second dose, some citizens had queued up since dawn. “I went at 6 am and already there were 70 people ahead of me in the queue. I, too, stood in line and only by 11 am I got my shot. It is disheartening to see so many old people wait in wheelchairs and with walking sticks in the scorching sun,” said Pavan B.
Meanwhile, as this situation continues, it may be recalled that in December 2020, government officials had stated that vaccinations could be initiated by decentralising the process up to the polling station and ward levels. However, no such arrangements exist. “I don’t understand why they insist on doing the vaccination at PHCs, it could have been done elsewhere,” added Pavan.