With pervasive fear of contracting the coronavirus griping the general public, access to vaccines from the comfort of home, was becoming a critical cog for ensuring mass inoculation. As speculation regarding this continues to be ripe among medical practitioners we at Optimist News spoke to some doctors to understand in detail the possibility of this initiative.
Dr. Sumantra Ray, Consultant – GI, HPB, Laparoscopic Surgery and Surgical Oncology at Woodlands Hospital, Kolkata believes that vaccination at home is a plausible solution but the question remains who are the people who are going to administer the doses. “We do not have vaccinations at home yet but it can be done depending on the approval and directions of the government”, says Dr Ray.
Talking about the logistical challenges involved he said, “Firstly, health workers who are willing to administer the doses at the doorsteps should be appointed. Due to the huge demand in vaccination today protection to the health care workers and maintaining the count remains a challenge.”
“In India door-step vaccination is a novel idea. Though many successful vaccination programs have been carried out in India in the past, the option of vaccination at the door-step remains unexplored. Polio vaccines, however, are an exception. So how will the whole process be monitored, whether by the government or the private sector should be cautiously planned and executed accordingly,” he added.
Dr. Prabhas Prasun Giri, a Consultant Pediatrician and Pediatrics Intensive Care Specialist in Kolkata says, “At present I do not think vaccination at door-step is possible. Given India’s huge population you need enormous human resource, time and motivation from the participants to make vaccination at home a success. Vaccination process involves that after the shot one needs to be under medical supervision for 30 minutes. I do not think it is possible to arrange medical supervision at home post vaccination. But in future when there will be more trust on the vaccines from the general population such procedures may be arranged.”
However, he suggested an alternative. “We can facilitate more mobile vaccination centres where mobile vans can be equipped with necessary medical facilities. Few areas can be cordoned off and we may vaccinate there. Mobile vans can tactfully vaccinate within a short span of time with less number of healthcare workers and with some medical facilities in case any untoward incident happens after vaccination. This would be much more robust and systematic.”
Talking about the plight of senior citizens who had to step out for their vaccines, he said, “To prevent elderly people from waiting in queues we need to increase the number of vaccination centres by means of mobile vaccination centers or vaccination camps, which will decrease waiting time and make the process easy.”
For the sick and bedridden he suggested, “We need to have a list of the people who are completely bedridden and vaccinate them at their homes.”
Talking about the possible course correction in our vaccination strategy, he suggested, “We need to be transparent in our vaccination policy. We are vaccinating a huge population at a short time so there can be changes in the policy. However, whenever the operational strategy is changed it needs to be properly communicated to the common people. Communication and cooperation at every level of government and people is the key.”
“Though the supply and demand discrepancy of the vaccines is a problem now, the government is working on that front and I hope in the next few months there will be no hue and cry about the availability of vaccines,” he added.
Let’s hope that keeping in mind the safety of people, the door step vaccination program will soon turn into a reality.