NEW DELHI: Healthcare workers at a hospital here who received the jab on the first day of India's massive vaccination drive against COVID-19 were treated with chocolates, cakes and juices after the shots, bringing smiles on the faces of many after initial apprehension.
Some of them recalled the difficult months spent during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital (RGSSH), those vaccinated were surprised with these gift hampers.
Dr Ajeet Jain, nodal officer of COVID-19 and cardio surgeon at the hospital, said, "The gift hampers were not pre-planned. It just happened and we are happy that they brought smiles on the faces of volunteers. We will think about whether to continue or not."
Each day 100 people at this centre will be administered the vaccine.
Dr Vikas Dogra, head of the pulmonology department, was the first health worker who received the vaccination on Saturday at the hospital.
"I am happy that I was the first person who got the vaccine at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital. I didn't feel any difficulty during and after the vaccination. To those who are spreading rumours that the vaccine is not safe, I just want to say that they are not experts. We were constantly tracking the progress of vaccine. It is a baseless thing and I want to tell people not to believe in rumours," he said.
Till 2 pm, 37 health workers received the vaccine shot at the RGSSH.
Nursing staff Shaheen Riyazuddin, who tested COVID-19 positive twice in April 2020, said, "The doctor told me that it happened due to my weak immune system. Our seniors briefed us about the vaccination and said there was no need to worry. I was informed yesterday that I will get the vaccine on Saturday. I was slightly nervous while going inside the centre, but after the jab, everything is fine," she said.
After the vaccination, the volunteers were put under observation for half an hour.
Dr Jain said that they have an emergency room for volunteers who feel unwell after the vaccination.
"We have an emergency room with four to five beds. We put the volunteer under observation for half an hour after the vaccination and if anything happens, then he or she will be attended by the doctors. As of now, everything is going smooth. The volunteers who have come out of the centre after getting the vaccine are fine," he said.
Aman Khatri, a nursing assistant at the department of mortuary, said he has gone through horrifying times when people fought with the staff for getting the bodies of their family members.
"We are happy that the vaccination drive has started. We used to be in PPE kits for at least six hours a day. The time was very difficult for us. We have seen people crying for the bodies of their family members.
"They requested us to let them take the bodies home, but it was not possible. Many understood the situation and rules, but some of them started fighting with us. Now with the vaccine, we hope that the situation gets normal soon," Khatri said. Nursing staff Vinish Kumar said he experienced weakness for a while.
"After the vaccination process, I went to the observation room where I experienced weakness and laziness. My blood pressure went down for a while. They put me under observation for one hour. Now I am feeling normal and everything is fine," Kumar said. Another doctor Nakul Karunakaran of the hospital said, "I was in the first batch which got vaccinated today at the hospital.
There was no nervousness.
The next dose will be given at least 22 to 28 days later.