On Tuesday, nearly 888 students received their first dose of Covishield in the three civic-run hospitals. Starting Monday, this week, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had initiated a three-day free walk-in vaccination campaign for students with confirmed admission from overseas universities. It had earmarked Cooper, Kasturba and Rajawadi to conduct the drives.
On Monday, BMC had vaccinated 987 students. In two days, it had vaccinated a total of 1,875 students. Like the first day, many students queued outside the vaccination centres in the morning. However, the rush and chaos was comparatively less on the second day of the drive.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of public health in the BMC, said that, as per the civic body's estimate, the number of students turning up for their dose would gradually decrease in the coming days. "Monday was the first day. So, people came rushing to the hospitals for their doses, which led to chaos. However, the situation improved on Tuesday and it will be better on Wednesday as well," Kakani said.
Furthermore, he also mentioned that few vaccination centres may remain non-operational due to shortage of vaccines on Wednesday. However, the civic body will ensure that all the three hospitals that are administering the doses to the students stay open.
"We are working towards administering the doses to as many students as we can in these three days. Even if the hospitals complain of getting their quota exhausted, we try to replenish them from our inventory at the earliest," Kakani said.
On Tuesday, Priyanka Chaturvedi, deputy leader of Shiv Sena and Rajya Sabha Member of the Parliament (MP) from the party, also visited Cooper Hospital to inspect the ongoing drive.
"Many students were waiting outside the hospital from 5 am, as they were apprehensive about getting the doses. I reached out to them and assured them that each and every student who lives in Mumbai will get their doses," Chaturvedi said. She also mentioned that, if the need arises, then the drive for the students would be extended by a few days as well.
"By now maximum number of students living in Mumbai have got their doses and all the other municipalities like Thane and Pune have also started administering doses to students on a priority basis, still if we feel that the students aren't covered then we may push towards extending the drive for couple of days," she said.
On Tuesday even though some students and their parents had complained of not getting the doses, functionaries of hospitals said that most of them who were denied were either below 18 years of age or failed to reach the centres on time.
"Many parents turned up after 5-6 pm hoping to get their drives, by the time the drive usually gets over," said a functionary of one of the hospitals.
"Earlier on Monday, many students came from Thane and Navi Mumbai which added more pressure on us, from today the municipalities of these areas had also started a vaccination drive for students who are supposed to travel abroad, this had eased the load on us," the functionary said.
Rahul Ahuja, a student who got his dose on Tuesday said that he had to wait for more than three hours earlier on Monday. "We were being given a token number on Monday and was treated as a priority on Tuesday. We got our dose within half an hour after we reached the Rajawadi hospital," said Ahuja.