Hyderabad, March 1 Telangana's health minister Eatala Rajender on Monday launched the second phase of Covid vaccination by receiving the first dose at government-run Area Hospital at Huzurabad.
The vaccination for those above 60 years of age and 45-59 year old with comorbidities was underway at 93 centres across the state. The vaccine is being given at 48 government and 45 private hospitals spread across 33 districts including Hyderabad
The programme began at 10.30 a.m. but few beneficiaries were seen at the vaccination centres. The officials attributed this to lack of awareness about online registration on Cowin app.
A maximum of 200 people will be vaccinated at each centre on the first day. The health department plans to ramp up the numbers in the coming days.
The authorities had initially planned to set up 1,500 centres to give the dose but limited this number to 93 on the first day to avoid any confusion.
Director of public health and family Dr. G. Srinivasa Rao said on the first day the vaccination centres were set up only in district headquarters, cities and major town.
For the first week only those who register via Cowin app will be given the vaccine. Walk-in registration at the centres will be allowed from next week. The official explained that this is being done to avoid overcrowding and chaos.
There are an estimated 55 lakh people in the state who come under two categories. The official said since the programme is likely to continue for 5-6 months, there was no need to rush for the jab.
After taking the vaccine, health minister told reporters that all beneficiaries will be covered. He said people should not any apprehensions or doubts about the vaccine.
For those reporting to centres with prior registration, the entire process was taking about one hour. This includes 30 minutes of observation, document verification and wait time.
"I have long been waiting for this day. I am happy that I received the dose," said a senior citizen at the vaccination centre at government-run Osmania General Hospital (OGH) in Hyderabad.
Referring to the low turnout, OGH superintendent B. Nagender said this may be because of low awareness among senior citizens about online registration. He hoped that the numbers will go up in the coming days.
"We have made all arrangements at the centre for those coming to take the dose. We have also arranged wheel-chairs for those unable to walk," said Nagender.
The staff at vaccination centres is monitoring the condition of recipients of the vaccine for AEFI (adverse effect following immunization). At OGH, an intensive care unit was also kept ready for any emergency.
The beneficiaries can register themselves on Cowin app by uploading Aadhaar card as proof of age and voter card of any of 11 other identity cards.
Those with comorbidities have to submit certificate from the doctors treating them. The beneficiaries can also choose the vaccination centre where they want to take the jab.
However, they will not be given the option to choose the brand of vaccine. "Beneficiaries will have to take whichever brand is available," an official said.
The health officials estimate that there are around 45 lakh people who are above 60 years old and about 10 lakh people in 45-60 age group with co-morbidities in the state.
( With inputs from IANS )
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