SRINAGAR: At a dispensary in Miyashah Sahab area of Rainawari, Mumtaza and her husband, Ashiq Hussain, received the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine two weeks ago. The duo, one 70-year-old and the other 65, were asked to leave home after the shot, without waiting the mandatory 30 minutes after the inoculation. They reached home, took a tablet of paracetamol, and had no adverse effects. None of their other three family members, all below 45 years, were asked to wait after the vaccination.
“Nobody asked us to stay. We were asked to leave as soon as the shot was given. We didn’t know that there was a mandatory waiting period at the hospital after the vaccine,” Mumtaza told Kashmir Reader.
This is just one example of one of the Covid vaccination centres in Srinagar. According to the government-issued protocol, to monitor any adverse reactions to the vaccine, including allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, the person receiving the vaccine has to wait for half an hour at a designated spot where all emergency preparedness measures have been put in place.
In India, about 31 persons have been reported to have complained of complications after Covid vaccination, among whom one has died. The national AEFI committee report said that the 68-year-old died due to anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) after vaccination in March 2021.
But in absence of a halt post the vaccine at many sites, can such an eventuality be ruled out? In May this year, medical staff of the directorate of health services stationed an ambulance in the lawns of Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, and administered vaccine shots. Such has been the norm at the camps being held everywhere in Kashmir. Health officials have been seen visiting far-flung areas to vaccinate people in such camps. Hardly anyone is asked to wait there and little is done to ensure that an adverse reaction is treated in the way it is meant to.
Dr Shahid Hussain, State Immunisation Officer, told Kashmir Reader to speak to the district immunisation officer about this matter. He was reluctant to admit that the mandatory halt is not being observed. “Send me the details and I will look into it,” he said.
This reporter asked him to pay a visit to the many vaccination sites to see for himself if the people were being asked to stay back.
“We will see. If there is such a case, we will train the staff again,” Dr Hussain said.
It remains unknown whether there really have been no complications post vaccination in Kashmir, given this situation. So far, in Kashmir more than 38,00,000 Covid vaccine shots have been administered.
“In Jammu and Kashmir no severe complication has been reported post the shot,” said Dr Hussain.