Change in vaccine registration policy leads to confusion at Thrissur’s Elanad health centre

The cancellation of the spot registration policy on Wednesday led to confusion in several parts of the state.

Written By Aneesa PA

Sixty-year-old Janaki reached the Family Health Centre at Elanad in Thrissur district at 7 am on Thursday to get vaccinated after spot registration. But little did she know that the Kerala Health Department had scrapped its spot registration policy for Covid-19 vaccination a day earlier. “If they had informed us earlier, it would have been easier. I am getting old and had to depend on the bus to reach here. I can’t come here every day,” said Janaki, who had come here from Vennur village, 5 km away from the health centre.

She said that she had to return home on Saturday as well without getting vaccinated. “The hospital said there was no vaccine available there.”

The cancellation of the spot registration policy on Wednesday led to confusion in several parts of the state.

“Until yesterday, the public could register with the help of Rapid Response Team (RRT) for the vaccination and complete it in the respective vaccination centres that they prefer. But following the rush at vaccination centres, the health department’s new order made registration through COWIN portal mandatory to get the vaccination at a fixed day and time,” said Dr. Jafar Sadiq, Medical Officer in-charge of Vaccination at the Family Health Centre, Elanad.

Almost 1,000 people showed up Thursday morning at the Family Health Centre at Elanad, said a staff nurse, who requested anonymity.

“Most of them were unaware of the new rule that the department imposed yesterday. Hence, they came for spot registration. But they dispersed within an hour as soon as we explained the new situation,” she said.

The Covid-19 vaccination drive in the state is coordinated with the public through local bodies with the help of RRT (Rapid Response Team), consisting of ASHA workers and health workers.

“We went to take the vaccine only because ASHA workers demanded us to do it yesterday, we thought the registration process was complete as we received a reference ID on our mobile phones,” said a 47-year-old woman requesting anonymity.

Limy CK, Health Inspector at the Family Health Centre said one of the reasons for the confusion might have been the lack of time.

“We had a meeting for the whole department including ASHA workers at the Panchayat at 2 pm yesterday. But they might not have got the time to tell the public about the new policy in that short period,” she said.

According to her, the health system is also grappling with a lack of staff and vaccines shortage at this time. “The vaccines were not delivered to us until Wednesday evening since Saturday. So, we stopped the vaccination programme for four days,” she said.

She also said, currently there are only 9 health staff (Doctors not included) for the Elanad Family Health Centre and nearby Pazhayannur Community Health Centre in the district.

“With this staff, we are running RT-PCR test, immunisation for kids, and regular works apart from vaccination,” she said.

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