The state is making preparations on a war-footing to ensure the Covid vaccine jabs are given to all its frontline soldiers. More than seven lakhs healthcare workers across Maharashtra have registered themselves for the vaccination drive on a priority basis. However, the state health department is still expecting another four lakh workers to register themselves. Health officials said that around 12 lakh HCW will get the Covid-19 vaccine on priority.
So far, details of over 7.22 lakh healthcare workers from the state — including doctors, nurses and paramedics — have been uploaded onto the CoWin app, which has been developed by the Centre to track vaccination and dosage. Around four lakh from this number are employed in the public sector. The rest, three lakh are employed in private healthcare facilities.
“A sizable chunk of healthcare staff has still not registered for the vaccine. There are an estimated 12 lakh healthcare workers in the state — from both the public and private sectors. The list includes non-medical support staff as well,” said a senior health official.
Dr Dilip Patil, state immunisation officer said there are around 3.50 lakh HCW including ASHA workers who are yet to register at CoWin-29. The deadline for the registration was December 25. However, the state health department has extended the registration period to an unlimited time. “By next week all the HCWs will complete their registration process. Mumbai is yet to finish but is in the process,” he said.
Till December 25, around 16,102 healthcare workers in Maharashtra had contracted Covid-19. Out of these, 11,000 were working in the government sector. A total of 178 of the health workers have succumbed to the infection in the state. Among this, 46 were doctors, 11 were nurses and 121 were paramedical workers and other staffers who were involved in the Covid-19 treatment.
There are two lakh doctors, including allopath and Ayurveda practitioners, in Maharashtra. “About five to six support staff work with each of these doctors at hospitals and clinics. That means the state has at least 12 lakh healthcare workers involved in clinical and non-clinical work at healthcare units,” said Ravi Wankhedkar, former national president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Also, the state Indian Medical Branch has a total of 46,000 members. “Nearly 70% to 80% of our members have registered for the vaccine. More are expected to register as the deadline has been extended,” said Sanjay Patil, former vice-president of the IMA in the state.