Odisha Makes U-turn On Drive-In, Doorstep Vaccination Campaigns

Shortly after announcing drive-in, doorstep vaccination campaigns across urban areas, the Odisha government has urged district authorities to refrain from such initiatives. The risks of conducting inoculation drives outside of Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) outweigh the benefits believes the Health and Family Welfare Department.

“You are requested to refrain from such strategies and only to conduct sessions in suitable CVCs (covid vaccination centres) with adequate space following the COVID-19 operational guidelines,” said PK Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department, in a letter to authorities.

“In drive-in/doorstep strategies, it will be difficult to manage Adverse Effects Following Immunization (AEFI), if it occurs, and there is also a high likelihood of vaccine wastage,” he added.

Mohapatra’s letter further said that vaccination sessions should only be conducted in centres equipped with waiting area, vaccination rooms, and other facilities to manage any AEFI. Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare state that people administered with the Covid vaccine must remain under observation for 30 minutes after vaccination.

Notably, urban places such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Berhampur had recently began doorstep, drive-in vaccination drives for the older population. The move had been lauded by many as it added convenience to the whole process.

The sudden U-turn from the government comes as a surprise and raises eyebrows as to how the campaigns were allowed to commence in the first place, considering the risks involved.

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