At a time when large crowds and long lines at vaccination centers across India have become commonplace, a new approach to the national inoculation drive has begun in the country—Drive-in vaccination. On Tuesday, the first such center in Mumbai city commenced its operations in Dadar.
The vaccination facility has been set up at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) multi-storeyed Kohinoor parking complex. It will offer vaccines to disabled citizens and senior citizens who can get their jabs while seated in their cars at the center.
Rahul Shewale, Member of Parliament and Shiv Sena leader, who was present at the center told ANI, "Since we could not provide door-to-door vaccination facility for the blind and disabled due to the guidelines given by the Centre, the municipal corporation started a drive-in facility."
Facilitating Senior and Disabled Citizens
Last year, the same complex had been used testing center where RT-PCR tests were conducted. Now, the 'jumbo' vaccination center facility has seven booths. Of which, two have been reserved for drive-ins. Individuals availing the service will have to wait in their cars for a period of up to 30 minutes to receive the vaccine.
Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner, G-North Ward, told TOI, "We received a very good response for swab testing as well. In case of the vaccination center, we have already tied up with a nearby hospital that will address post-vaccination issues, if any." A parking fee of Rs.60 will be levied for the citizens availing the drive-in facility, said Dighavkar. Also, an ambulance will be on standby at the center, he added.
A Jumbo Vaccination Center
The jumbo vaccination facility was instituted as the demand for home vaccination for individuals who could not stand in lines outside inoculation centers. Vaccination drives at housing facilities have not taken off yet.
Corporators Preeti Patankar and Vishakha Raut from the Dadar and Shivaji Park wards stated that they had sought the establishment of a larger vaccination center. This was to be able to reach all the citizens from both the wards.
"While a center is being set up in each corporator ward, we decided to go for one major center for both wards due to the large space available within the parking lot. This will ensure physical distancing as well. The drive-in facility is specially for those persons who are not very mobile," said Raut, according to TOI.
So far, So Good
Talking about the ease of the process, a senior citizen who received their vaccination at the center, said, "We spent the waiting period sitting inside our car. It prevents our exposure to the virus and is also more comfortable for people who can't walk or stand for a longer time," according to India Today.
Savitha Kapoor, another vaccine receiver at the facility told ANI, "We have come from Worli for the second dose. The arrangements for senior citizens are good here. What I like about this center is that there is no overcrowding. The authorities are handling everything properly. We are happy with it."