COVID-19: Sanitation Worker to become First Person to receive Vaccine in Odisha

The district administrations were asked by the state government to select ‘the first beneficiary’ in a manner that sends out a positive social message. “On the day of launch, the first person to be vaccinated at a facility should preferably be a Safai Karamchari (who are among the nine categories of healthcare workers registered for the first phase inoculation),” additional chief secretary (health) Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said during a meeting.

The fact that a Safai Karmachari (sanitation worker) or a Class IV employee would be given preference over a privileged individual is symbolic.

In case of apprehensions, the state government has asked the district collectors to engage local celebrities, leaders, influencers, religious leaders and other prominent personalities to speak about the safety and efficacy and high immunogenicity of both the vaccines and address rumour mongering effectively.

When it comes to the healthcare personnel, the head of the institution or someone very senior will take the vaccine and lead by example. Odisha has 3.38 lakh registered healthcare workers.

P.K. Mohapatra has stated that the government aims to administer the first dose of vaccination to 1.92 lakh healthcare workers within a week utilising the available vials. The district administrations have been told to keep in mind that though both the vaccines have a shelf life of six months, officials must use each vial within four hours of its opening.

The government has allocated the available stock to the districts according to the number of healthcare workers registered. Cuttack has been sent the highest number of vaccines, i.e. 19,100 doses, where 29,624 healthcare workers are registered. The lowest numbers of vaccines have been sent to Deogarh with 1650 doses as only 2519 healthcare workers are registered.

Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will interact with beneficiaries at a particular site in each district on the day of the vaccine launch.

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