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Telangana administers only Covishield on day one

·3-min read

Telangana state health officials said that the COVID-19 vaccine elicited over 90% acceptance among the healthcare workers on the first day of the vaccination drive on Saturday. Over 90% of the 4,200 targeted beneficiaries took the vaccine at 140 centres across 33 districts in the state, according to officials.

While all the beneficiaries in the state were given only Covishield, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Pune, the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was not used for the rollout. Officials reportedly found the launch of Covaxin in clinical trial mode difficult, and so the Telangana government chose to administer only Covishield to beneficiaries on the first day of the vaccination programme.

Director of Public Health G Srinivas Rao said the rollout programme was completed successfully without any severe or serious reactions. Only 20 people had minor reactions, which was common with any vaccine. He said 3,530 people were vaccinated by 3.30 pm, which was 84% of the target. Director of Medical Education Dr Ramesh Reddy, however, said that by the end of the day over 90% beneficiaries were vaccinated.

"This itself is an indication of the acceptance of the vaccine. The number will increase further in the coming days," Dr Ramesh Reddy said.

At a few places, some healthcare workers refused to take the vaccine due to some doubts and apprehensions. "We will try to convince them. All healthcare workers will have to be vaccinated. In the coming days, workers in private institutions will also be covered," Dr Srinivas Rao said.

He said all those taking the vaccine should continue to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour like wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing and hand sanitisation, as the first dose will not give full protection. "The second dose will be given after 28 days but it's only after 42 days that antibodies will develop and give full protection," he said.

Dr Ramesh Reddy was among the top officials who took the jab on the first day. "Being an administrator and a professor, I want to send a message that this vaccine is safe and there is no need to have any apprehensions," he said and urged all his colleagues to come forward to take the vaccine.

Sharing his experience, the 59-year-old official said he got a sense of confidence after taking the vaccine. "A year ago, there were no medicines and we were at a confused stage. Today, the confidence has come that we can control COVID-19," he said.

Directors of Institute of Preventive Medicine, Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), Government Chest Hospital and superintendents of some major hospitals in the state took the vaccine so that they are role models for society and send the message that the vaccine is totally safe.

Dr Ramesh Reddy said lakhs of children were vaccinated and some minor problems like redness, swelling and pain are common. "In the coming days, we will vaccinate other frontline workers, people above 50 years of age, and those with comorbidities," he said.

Pointing out that COVID-19 deaths were more among those with co-morbidities, Reddy said the vaccine will enhance immunity.

"Vaccine develops antibodies and even if there is a COVID attack, our body can fight it," he added.

Read : COVID-19: Telangana vaccinates 3530 people on day one, 20 report minor reactions

The officials said the number of vaccination centres and beneficiaries will be increased from Monday. In seven to 10 days, all 1,213 centres will be active and each centre can vaccinate a maximum of 100 beneficiaries every day.

(With IANS inputs)