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Punjab vaccine rollout: An ASHA worker, a ward attendant a Covid nodal officer show the way

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Health workers from different districts of Punjab were among the ones who got the first vaccine dose Saturday.

The Indian Express profiles a few among them who got the first shot against Covid-19.

Dr Ranjit Singh Rai, Age: 50
Designation: ENT specialist, Covid-19 Nodal Officer Covid-19
District: Mansa

Dr Ranjit Singh Rai was the first one to get a vaccine shot in Mansa district hospital on Saturday morning. He is the only ENT specialist in the government department in Mansa district and in the initial 3 months (April-June), he was the only one to take the throat and nasal swabs of suspected patients. Dr Rai said, “I did not take even a single day leave in 2020 and out of nearly 1.73 lakh samples of suspected patients taken from Mansa, nearly 24,000 were taken by Dr Rai alone. These included RT-PCR samples, rapid antigen, Trunat samples etc. I get myself tested after every 15 days and sampling is still on. I got myself vaccinated first of all so as to instil confidence among the paramedical staff that the vaccine is fully safe.”

Davinder Sonu, Age: 40
Designation: Ward attendant, Civil Hospital, Mansa
District: Mansa

Davinder Sonu has been working as a ward attendant in Civil Hospital, Mansa on contract basis for the past 6 years. He contracted Covid on August 30 after he had fever and few other Covid related symptoms. However, his case was mild and he got cured and was back on duty from September 18. Sonu was the third ward attendant in Mansa to get the vaccine shot Saturday and the first positive patient of the district who got himself vaccinated. He said, ‘’Though I was a mild patient but I know how Covid attacks your body and hence, even if I have been cured, I got myself vaccinated so as to tell people that vaccination shield is a must for one and all. I will get the second dose after 28 days and will also get my entire family of seven members vaccinated when their turn comes.”

Sonu has been working in the corona ward since the beginning and from the last 2-3 months, he has been shifted to a sampling team where he handles biomedical waste.
He said, “I have been tested a number of times now and every time I have tested negative. Covid is still there and hence sampling is still on.”

Anju Bala, Age: 34
Designation: ASHA worker
District: Fazilka

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Anju Bala, President of ASHA workers association in Abohar constituency of Fazilka district.

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Anju Bala is the president of ASHA workers association in Abohar constituency of Fazilka district. She was the first ASHA to get herself vaccinated at Abohar Civil Hospital. She said, “A number of ASHAs are refusing to get themselves vaccinated due to myths, hence I came forward to get myself vaccinated first. If the President gets the vaccination, others will also follow. In the entire Covid season, we did a lot of work. We used to get a sampling of every pregnant woman done, used it to isolate patients at home and even used to visit houses in contact tracing. So, our exposure was a lot. Despite that I remained healthy throughout. I feel that we should get ourselves vaccinated.”

She added, “A number of ASHAs are worried that something will happen to them after a few days of vaccine after they heard the incident of death of a person twenty days after getting the first dose of vaccine on trial in Bhopal.”

Dr Rajinder Singla, Age: 55
Designation: District Immunisation Officer (DIO)
District: Barnala

Dr Rajinder Singla was the first one to get himself administered the first shot of the vaccine due to poor response of staff getting themselves vaccinated on day one of vaccination rollout. In Barnala, only 15 health workers got themselves vaccinated against the list of 200.

Dr Singla said, “There was some technical glitch due to which private sector employees who got themselves registered were not being shown in the list and the rest did not come due to misinformation. However, this fear will also clear up soon.”

Dr Singla is an ENT specialist and was doing sampling of patients till September first week until he himself contracted an infection. He was back on duty on September 28 but did no sampling after that. From January 1, he has been promoted as DIO. Dr Singla is also a patient of hypertension.

Pushpuneet Kaur, Age: 27
Designation: Staff nurse
District: Sangrur

Pushpuneet Kaur was the first staff nurse in Sangrur district to get herself vaccinated. She said, “I was the first one and the only staff nurse to get vaccinated in Sangrur Civil Hospital. Many doctors got themselves vaccinated. Perhaps in the coming days, more nurses will come as they were waiting for someone to make a start.”
Kaur has been working in the health department for the past 4 years and she had done duty in corona ward for 4 months with breaks in between in Sangrur, she said.

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