Updated on: Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 11:22 PM IST

Navi Mumbai: Doctor on a mission aims to vaccinate youth for COVID-19 in college campuses

DR Rahul Khatik |

DR Rahul Khatik |


Covid-19 has modified the roles of many people connected to the health industry. One such is the doctors who are now on a Vaccination Mission, their newest haunt being college and school campuses. On trail of the 'Mission Yuva Swasth Yojana' where students are getting vaccinated on the campus, FPJ followed one doctor Dr. Rohit S Khatik from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NNMC) as he went about his duties at SIES College in Navi Mumbai.

Dr. Khatik has been vaccinating citizens in Navi Mumbai ever since April 2021. He began by vaccinating health care and front-line workers and then senior citizens and now visits college campuses to vaccinate students. Earlier there was a bit of non-belief when it came to the vaccine but now that the third wave seems a distant possibility, people are more open to getting themselves vaccinated, even students.

Dr. Rohit S Khatik and the team began the Mission Yuva Swasth Yojana on 22 October 2021. So far, he has visited three colleges - mainly DY Patil, SIES, and Sterling in Nerul. Some colleges remained unvaccinated due to the absence of students. When asked about his experience with students, Dr. Khatik replied: "I feel like students are more aware of the pandemic than the general public. Earlier, there was a shortage of vaccines for 18 above. During that period until now, students took their time to research and carefully learn all the benefits, side effects, and symptoms of the vaccination. This gave them a proper idea as to what could happen if the virus struck which made them more ready than ever. Now that vaccines are available, and right on their campus, they should take full advantage and get their doses completed so they can enjoy their offline life."

FPJ saw the general chatter and fun around the place today. While students waited in a line, they were at peace with the situation unlike in the months gone by, young people were full of questions. They were happy to get vaccinated and carry on with their lives. Some said they had heard that side effects among teenagers were more prominent than adults but they were ready for the jab. Some also said that side effects are part of the vaccination process and there was no need to fear.

At SIES, today, 30 people got vaccinated.

Dr. Khatik has noticed a sure heightened sense of excitement among students over the months. "Earlier, there was skepticism, but now there is an eagerness to take the shot. "Students are excited. With malls opening up and colleges starting offline, students want to be offline and there. Two years of home study and home entertainment has got many of them stifled, and they are longing to be outdoors and enjoy some sun."

Dr. Khatik added that students wanting to go abroad are also making it in big numbers to vaccination centers, "all in all it is one happy time for our youngsters."

Today Dr. Khatik had only one college to cover, and his assignment was over in 5 hours. Sometimes the doctor and his team are amused with students making a hue and cry about the needle poke, and they try to be as gentle as possible. The team is aware that the students want their families with them during the vaccination, but they have teachers and other college staff who are always around to part with some courage.

Once the vaccination process starts, Dr. Khatik and his team do not rest till the lot is over. Only when fully done, do they take a break. The medical team enjoys college vaccinations because the vibrancy in a college is quite different. The chatter and fun are quite infectious, they say.

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Published on: Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 11:22 PM IST