Around 3,530 people in Telangana received the first shots of the coronavirus vaccine on the first day of the world's largest vaccination drive, with a woman sanitation worker being the first one to get inoculated at a state-run hospital here on Saturday.
The 45-year-old sanitation worker looked initially uncertain whether she could address all questions hurled at her by the press gathered outside the hospital, but her firmness and confidence put all doubts to rest after she started speaking with courage and urged everyone to participate wholeheartedly in the Covid vaccination drive.
The only way out of Covid
The lady went on describing how her family had opposed her decision of getting vaccinated on the first day itself.
"I was a bit tensed yesterday and even today morning doubts crept into my mind. My son who is working with Police Department and other family members were also asking me not to get vaccinated. But in the last one year, I have personally seen the suffering of Covid patients and other healthcare workers at Gandhi Hospital and realised that vaccination was the only way out of Covid pandemic. It's been more than three hours since I was administered the vaccine and look at me now. I am perfectly all right. I urge all the health care workers to participate in the vaccine drive and request public to embrace the vaccines, whenever they are available," she told Telangana Today.
Before getting vaccinated, she said that the sanitation employees and other grade IV employees were informed of the pros and cons by the hospital authorities.
"We told them about the pros and cons of the vaccine. I also told them that along with them, other healthcare workers from the hospital, including nurses and doctors, will take the vaccine. Like Krishnamma, other sanitation staff readily agreed," said Superintendent Dr M Raja Rao.
Health-care workers on the frontline
According to reports, Krishnamma, being a resident of Dammaiguda, has been working in the sanitation wing at Gandhi Hospital for over a decade. "When Covid broke out and lockdown was imposed, I personally saw the suffering of patients. Initially I was not sure but after getting the vaccine, I believe that we can beat the disease," Krishnamma said.
However, the woman said she did not face any major health complaints after taking the vaccine and appealed to all to get inoculated in order to protect one's health.
State Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao further informed that the vaccination programme was held at 140 out of the 1,213 sites in the state. He also said that only 11 mild 'AEFI' cases were reported with complaints like pain, giddiness and sweating, which are common in any vaccination programme. But no severe reactions had been reported anywhere in the state.
Meanwhile, only Covishield vaccine, developed by the Serum Institute from a vial of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine, was used on Saturday, he added.