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Opinion

Wedding halls and polling stations in the Covid-19 vaccination plan

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From ballot boxes to marriage rooms, Indian health administrators are evaluating various options for sites where the Covid vaccine can be administered. They will need a few: the goal is to vaccinate 300 million Indians by mid-year. Private hospitals or nursing homes will also be used for inoculation, but the government plans to strictly control the entire process, from the storage and transportation of the vaccine to its administration.

Each site will be designed to serve at least 100 recipients. The sites chosen should be spacious (with at least three rooms) and close to the homes or offices of the recipients. Vaccination drives will take place from 9 am to 5 pm at all sites.

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“We will have two types of sites. There will be fixed session sites and outreach sites. The sites will be identified considering the number of recipients in the locality and the convenience of delivering and administering the vaccine, ”said an official involved in the planning who asked not to be identified. For outreach sites, ballot boxes are becoming the preferred option. “Most of the recipients are identified in the list of voters. Then, the best thing would be to assign them places in the voting booths ”, added the official.

Wedding halls and polling stations in the Covid-19 vaccination plan

In addition to polling stations, which are typically found in schools, colleges, and community halls, health authorities are looking for other options that could serve as outreach sites. The center’s guide to states, reviewed by HT, reads: “Municipal offices, panchayat bhawans, places of marriage (hallways), cantonment hospitals / clinics, railway hospitals, paramilitary forces camp, railways and other central colonies of the PSU, etc. identified as sites of outreach sessions if they meet all the preconditions for hosting a session. ”

Dr. Prantar Chakravarty, a Kolkata-based public health expert, said: “It is a good idea to set up vaccination camps in voting booths or hospitals. But the government would do better if it assigned specific spaces to people, as they do at passport offices, rather than asking them to come anytime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. It can make the vaccination process more efficient and help maintain social distance. “

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India used 1.03 million polling places in the last general election and officials involved in the vaccination plan said many of them will be used as vaccination sites. “Once the list of comorbidities and old age is prepared, we would know exactly where we all need to place the vaccine sites,” said a second official involved in the planning who also asked not to be identified. “In case there are less than 100 recipients in one area, they will be hit with another area.”

A site, according to the guidelines, will have at least three rooms. The first room would be used to identify recipients and procedures. The next will be for inoculation, while recipients will wait in a separate recovery room for half an hour after the jab, probably to monitor people for instantaneous anaphylactic shocks or what is known as an adverse event after immunization. (AEFI).

Meanwhile, public and private health facilities will serve as fixed sitting venues. “All government health facilities at the Primary Health Center / Urban Primary Health Center level and above can be used as sites. Private healthcare facilities with more than 100 healthcare workers can also be session sites, ”the guidelines said. While polling places cover the most difficult terrain and Maoist areas, extension camps will not be held in those locations for security reasons, officials said. The government will organize mobile camps to serve these areas.

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