Healthcare Workers Consult Colleagues, Scour Internet Before Taking Vaccine
A health worker wearing a protective mask administers a Covid-19 vaccine in New Delhi. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Healthcare Workers Consult Colleagues, Scour Internet Before Taking Vaccine

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Healthcare workers in New Delhi are taking into consideration the experience of their colleagues and scouring newspapers and the Internet for information on possible side-effects before going for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Also, many have chosen not to tell their "worried" family members about taking the jab.

Jay Mahawer, a 24-year-old nursing staff at Moolchand Medcity in Southeast Delhi, said he read about the vaccine and its side effects on the Internet.

"There have been reports of reaction (adverse events) following vaccination. So, there was a little bit of anxiety," he said.

Mahawer said he made up his mind only after he read about All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr. Randeep Guleria taking the shot.

"I experienced dizziness for a few minutes after taking the vaccine. My family was already scared. So, I have not told them yet. I am feeling fine now," he said.

His colleague, Ritik Bhati, 24, said he felt "completely okay" after taking the jab.

"There is nothing to fear. I haven't experienced any side effects yet... I had also talked to a few people who were vaccinated on Saturday about their experiences," he said.

Bhati, who hails from Rajasthan's Alwar, also did not inform his parents about taking the vaccine.

"They are a bit scared, my siblings are aware of it though," he said.

At Medeor Hospital in Qutub Institutional Area, Anuja Mehta, a 23-year-old staff nurse, also spoke to her colleagues who took the vaccine before taking her first jab.

"My parents were worried. They asked me to wait for some time, but I was feeling good about the vaccine as those who have already taken it had shared their experiences with us," she said.

Mohammad Raheel, manager (patient care) at Medeor, who took his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Monday morning, said people are a bit scared because there have been a few cases of side effects.

"I also counseled a few people who were undecided about it," he said.

In Delhi, 4,319 healthcare workers - 53.3% of those registered, got the shots on Saturday, the first day of the world's largest vaccination drive against the pandemic.

Also read: What to Know About Vaccine-Related Deaths, Allergies

Experts say people adopting a wait and watch approach for the initial few days, lack of communication and glitches in CoWin app are the major reasons why many people did not get the jabs on the first day.

There is a little bit of apprehension (about the vaccine). Also, people in India adopt a 'wait and watch' approach in important matters, be it purchasing a new car or an appliance People consider the experiences of others before taking a call, BL Sherwal, the Medical Director of Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, said.

Also read: Vaccines’ Side Effects Risk Sidelining Health Workers While Cases Surge

There is a need for creating more awareness and building confidence among people. No major vaccine-related side effects were reported on Saturday, which is going to encourage others to take the shots, he said.

An AIIMS security guard had developed an allergic reaction after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. He was kept under observation of doctors at the hospital and later discharged.

A total of 51 cases of minor reactions such as rashes, swelling at the injection site or fever were reported in the city on the first day, according to officials.

Sherwal said 53% turnout should be considered normal. Since people are voluntarily taking the jabs, many times they skip it if there is some important work, he said.

It took a lot of effort for 20 years to eradicate polio. There was resistance. Similar efforts will be needed in the case of Covid-19 immunization campaign, he added.

Also read: Massive Vaccine Drive Starts in India Despite Safety Doubts

Suresh Kumar, the medical director of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, said technical glitches in CoWin app could be a reason why many people could not take the shots on the launch day.

India's drugs regulator has approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India Ltd., and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech International Ltd. for restricted emergency use in the country.

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