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Selfie stand, music, magazines: Authorities deploying measures to boost vaccine centre turnout

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New Delhi: Faced with lower turnouts at COVID-19 vaccination centres, authorities here are trying to to attract more and more people by devising interesting ways such as installing selfie stands, deploying counsellors, playing soothing music, and providing access to TV and magazines during the mandatory observation period of 30 minutes. An official said district authorities have asked senior doctors to set an example by coming forward to get themselves vaccinated fist and motivate their juniors to take the jab.

District officials said a feature has also been added to the Co-WIN app to allow the list of beneficiaries uploaded on the mobile application to be changed.

“Earlier, the list uploaded on the app was sacrosanct and could not be changed. But, now we can add beneficiaries to it,” said a senior district official.

This will help boost the number of health workers getting vaccinated by adding those interested and willing by replacing those who show hesitation and do not turn up for getting the vaccine, he said.

On Saturday, the day of the launch of the nationwide mega vaccination drive, a total of 4,319 health workers were vaccinated against a target of 8,117 in the city.

Monday — the second scheduled day of the drive — saw a further dip in the numbers when only “3,600 health workers (44 per cent)” got the jab.

On Tuesday, as many as 4,936 healthcare workers received the COVID-19 vaccine shots in Delhi.

Be it playing light soothing music in waiting hall, the head of departments and professors leading by example by getting vaccinated first or clicking photographs of vaccination beneficiaries and playing it on the big screen near the centre, the New Delhi district administration is leaving no stone unturned to increase the footfalls at the 81 vaccination centres across the capital.

Also, television and magazines are being made available to those undergoing the mandatory observation period post-vaccination.

“To address vaccine hesitancy, ‘Swasthyadoot’ volunteers under the guidance of clinical psychologist and nursing instructor from the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare (NIHFW), will be interacting with beneficiaries prior to vaccination,” an official from the district administration said.

“The district administration is committed to bring behavioural change in the society through dedicated teams of Manoratna volunteers, NGOs and civil society,” it added.

In northeast Delhi, senior doctors have been asked to come forward and get vaccinated to give a message to other healthcare workers so that they are motivated, and they reach vaccination centres in good numbers, another official said.

Various reasons are being attributed to the low turnout, including some technical issues and fears related to adverse events.

However, the government has maintained that no case of serious/severe AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) is attributable to vaccination till date.

One “severe” and 51 “minor” cases of AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) were reported among health workers who were administered the coronavirus vaccine in Delhi on Saturday, according to official figures.

The vaccine is to be administered in Delhi on four scheduled days of the week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

It will not be given on Sundays and two others days of the week when other regular vaccination exercise will be carried out.

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield is being administered at 75 centres while Bharat Biotech-made Covaxin doses given at the remaining six facilities.

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