BHUBANESWAR: The much awaited Covid-19 vaccination drive was kick-started in Odisha with a Class IV employee of Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar taking the first jab immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world's largest programme through video conferencing on Saturday.
Biranchi Nayak, a 51-year-old sanitation worker of the hospital was administered with the first dose of Covaxin at about 11.05 am. Director of Capital Hospital Dr Laxmidhar Sahu was second to recieve the vaccine followed by Dr Pravakar Sethi, a paediatrician.
"I am happy to first get the vaccine, the Sanjivani for our life. I am absolutely fine now. There is no skin irritation and no fever. Initially, I was a bit anxious, but I was relaxed after the shot was administered," said Nayak and urged his fellow workers to take the vaccine without fear and apprehension.
The Capital Hospital had listed 151 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, attendants, and sanitation staff. After the launch of the drive, several doctors lined up for the shots. The recipients, however, had to sign a consent form, to get Covaxin jab, as stipulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
While Covaxin was administered to healthcare workers in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area, the listed beneficiaries in all 30 districts got the Oxford-AstraZeneca joint venture Covisheild. There were no consent formalities for them as the vaccine was approved after the third phase trial unlike Covaxin, which was released on clinical trial mode.
"There should not be any confusion over it. I got the Covaxin shot and I feel absolutely fine now. There are no side effects at all. The vaccine is safe and all eligible beneficiaries should take the vaccine, which is the passport to end the Covid-19 epidemic," said the Director of Capital Hospital.
The doctors at AIIMS Bhubaneswar led by Director Dr Gitanjali Batmanabane also received the vaccine shots on the first day. Noted neuro-surgeon and Vice-Chancellor of SOA Dr Ashok Kumar Mohapatra took the first jab at IMS and SUM Hospital, the only health institute in the State where Covaxin is undergoing its Phase III trial.
Additional Chief Secretary of Health department PK Mohapatra, who monitored the vaccine launch at Capital Hospital, said both the vaccines successfully rolled out in the State and there was no information about any side effects so far. At several places, senior doctors and health officials were vaccinated so that there will not be any apprehension on anybody's mind over the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, he added.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik interacted with the vaccine recipients from three places -- Capital Hospital, Sundargarh, and Ganjam. He appreciated the efforts of healthcare workers, frontline Covid warriors and all stakeholders for their fight against Covid-19.
"Odisha is among the leading States for the highest recovery rate and low mortality rate in the country. We should feel proud that our scientists and pharmaceutical companies have come up with the vaccines in a record time," Naveen said and wished all a good health.