Medical staff and policemen speak at a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination centre in Mumbai on January 15, 2021, a day before India starts the first phase of vaccination across the country.
Medical staff and policemen speak at a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination centre in Mumbai on January 15, 2021, a day before India starts the first phase of vaccination across the country.
AFP Photo

Mumbai: 'V-Day' is here and after two dry runs, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is ready with vaccination centres for the mass inoculation drive starting today (January 16), with 4,000 beneficiaries slated to receive their first dose of the Covid vaccine. But surprisingly, the civic body is yet to activate the CoWin application. Civic officials said they would receive the CoWin application late evening on Friday and the preparedness of the vaccination centres was almost complete. The BMC has distributed more than 400 vials of the vaccine at each of the nine centres, along with guidelines on who can be vaccinated and the rules to follow.

Nurses who are part of the five-member vaccination team said they were yet to set eyes on the actual CoWin application, leave alone be trained in using it. “We don’t know what is actually going to happen on the day of the vaccination drive, but we are prepared with everything, except handling the CoWin application. As of now, we have been informed by our higher-ups that we would be trained late on Friday evening,” said a nurse.

Mumbai’s four medical colleges -- Sion, KEM, Nair and Cooper -- will handle the bulk of the vaccinations. The vaccination centre at Parel’s KEM, set up on the second floor of the new hospital building, was a beehive of activity, with computers and internet connectivity being set up and the entry and exit signs being marked, even as vaccine FAQs sheets were being plastered on the walls. The token display system was yet to be installed at some of the centres, which hospital authorities said would be completed by Friday evening.

Similar scenes could be witnessed at the BYL Nair Hospital, where a massive tent has been set up to serve as the waiting area, once a beneficiary reaches the centre. The vaccination room has 10 chairs and stools each, placed in a row, with antibacterial curtains separating each set. The hospital has two data operators for now and the civic body has directed all the centres to carry on working, to ensure glitch-free proceedings. “The hospital administration has asked everyone to work till late on Friday evening until the task is complete and to cross-check before leaving that everything is working as it is supposed to, to avoid any problems on Saturday (January 16),” said an official.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said they had activated 40 vaccination booths at nine centres and over 400 beneficiaries would be inoculated at each centre. There were some last-minute tasks pending, however, which would be completed before the drive began, he said. A list of of HCWs had been prepared and messages had been sent to everyone. “The vaccination drive will start at 10.30am at all the centres, for which we are well-prepared and doing our best to ensure there are no loopholes, considering it is the biggest Covid-19 vaccination drive across India. We will be sending messages to all the HCWs registered for the vaccination drive once the CoWin application is activated,” he said.

Ten people can be vaccinated at once, with 5ml of the Covishield vaccine. “Earlier, we had decided to vaccinate 12,000 per day, but as it is the first day, we will inoculate 4,000 beneficiaries. If any beneficiaries fail to turn up at the vaccination centres thrice after being registered, they will be marked as defaulters," said Dr Sheela Jagtap, Mumbai Immunisation Officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The stock will last for six days and centres requiring more doses are asked to inform 24 hours in advance.

In Maharashtra, two sites have been chosen for the webcast, Cooper Hospital in Mumbai and another hospital in Pune, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 10.30am. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackerey will launch the vaccine drive at the BKC vaccination centre at 10am.

Meanwhile, the Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy hospital, which only recently learnt of its being a designated Covaxin administering centre, was scrambling to be ready for the big day. A vaccination centre is being set up on the second floor of the hospital, next to the outpatient department. “Given that it was only recently we were told about being a centre, we have instructed all our staff to work until Saturday. We have sent a team to pick up the vaccines from Thane,” said a senior official.

As per the rules of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), all the beneficiaries of Covaxin will have to sign a consent form. It will have nine questions - ‘Are you feeling sick today?’; ‘Have you ever had a serious allergic reaction?’; ‘Are you pregnant?’- among others. It will also have the details of the beneficiaries.

The form also declares that in case of any adverse effect, compensation will be provided by the sponsors.

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