Senior citizens inoculated at Dr Niranjan Wagh Old Age Home, Jogeshwari.
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Two separate teams of medical professionals were on the field with two separate ambulances, for the pilot drive

Senior citizens inoculated at Dr Niranjan Wagh Old Age Home, Jogeshwari.
Senior citizens inoculated at Dr Niranjan Wagh Old Age Home, Jogeshwari.

Thirty-seven beneficiaries who are bedridden due to medical or physical illnesses were vaccinated at their homes, the Day-1 of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) door-to-door Covid-19 vaccination drive, on Friday. These also include 14 senior citizens living at an old age home — Wagh Nursing Home in Jogeshwari (East).

With help from a non-profit organisation, Project Mumbai, BMC kick-started the door-to-door vaccination drive on a pilot basis in the K East ward corresponding to areas in and around Andheri (East). Four vials were used for the drive on Friday. Each vial contains 10 vaccine doses.

Two separate teams of medical professionals were on the field with two separate ambulances, for the pilot drive. Both ambulances were equipped with oxygen support. Each team comprised a doctor, a nurse and a member of the BMC staff to accompany the team.

As per the BMC, the drive will now start across Mumbai.

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, in charge of BMC’s public health department, said, “From Monday, we will start the drive in all wards of Mumbai. Each ward will have at least one team on the field for the door-to-door visits.”

On Friday morning, Daya Joshi, 79, a resident of Vijay Nagar in Andheri (East) became the first beneficiary to get vaccinated at home. Shishir Joshi, from Project Mumbai, said, “We called beneficiaries and asked them what time they were free to arrange a visit at home. The first beneficiary was free at noon. We also had an orientation session with the two teams in the morning, before they went on the field.”

Dr Niteen Joshi, Daya Joshi’s son, said, “My mother went through a coronary illness. There are three other members in our family, and all are vaccinated except my mother. Now she has received her first dose as part of the door-to-door drive. Our housing colony had earlier circulated a message about this drive, and we signed up for my mother. The entire process was very smooth.”

The two teams started their day by visiting the same locations together, to draw from each other’s experience. Later in the day, the two teams split up and began to visit separate beneficiaries. The teams waited in the homes of the beneficiaries for a short while after they were vaccinated, before moving to the next home. They approached each home with contact information about the nearest municipal hospital and dispensary, a phone number of the nearest physician associated with BMC. The civic body’s ambulance was also on standby in case of emergency, according to official information.

One of the main reasons why BMC kick-started the door-to-door only in one ward on Friday was to draw learnings from its experience on the field and fine-tune its standard operating procedures when the drive becomes large scale across Mumbai Monday onwards.

Kakani said, “The most important aspect is that beneficiaries need to have a consent letter from their physicians ready beforehand. If that is not available when our team visits their homes for vaccination, the trip will be futile.”

As per requirement, each beneficiary needs to have a consent letter from a physician certifying they are fit for vaccination. The beneficiary should also ensure a family physician can watch over the person during the 30-minute observation period after vaccination. “These are challenging in some cases, as every beneficiary may not have a doctor who can watch over them for 30 minutes after vaccination,” Shishir Joshi said.

For Friday’s drive, the medical teams’ phone called about 90 beneficiaries who had signed up for the drive. About 15 of them were already vaccinated, as many had taken their first dose, and a handful did not have all documents in place. Hence a total of 37 beneficiaries were vaccinated.


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