“Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our wicked troubles”- Charlie Chaplin.
Before I talk about my troubled experience with the 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine, let me first start by applauding the tremendous efforts put in by our Government to try to vaccinate people of India. The way the 1st dose vaccination was done for frontline workers, it was really commendable. From receiving message on time about where and when to get vaccination to the entire process of being vaccinated, congratulation message for receiving the vaccine from MoHFW to going home (minor glitches aside; which was to be expected), it was overall a wonderful experience especially for me as I was not attached to any specific hospital, working in my own private clinic.
But all this pleasant experience went away with the 2 nd dose. I have called it an ordeal because it was actually one. All major problems which can be imagined, please imagine.. !!
On a side note, I don’t wish to and this is by no way meant to discourage people from getting vaccinated.
I am still rooting for it and that’s why I went through all the trouble, because in the end its worth it!!
28 days passed, no message came about the 2nd dose. Me being slightly on overcautious side, kept a track of the days. Thinking that government officials, healthcare workers have been tirelessly working, I patiently waited for a week or so. A week passed beyond the expected date, but still no heads up about the 2nd dose. So I myself went to the nearest hospital, where in I was told that they were only giving Covaxin and they don’t have Covishield which I had got as the 1st dose (1st dose too discrimination was there; the staff was getting Covaxin and the healthcare workers from outside the hospital were being given Covishield…my doctor brain cudn’t grasp or comprehend the fact as to why this was being done.. any ways whatever I got I took…Beggars cant be choosers and after all a vaccine is a vaccine.. all work to a certain extent.)
On asking about where to get Covishield, no one had any idea. Tried enquiring from multiple hospitals and government clinics, everywhere now Covaxin was being administered ( Since it is India’s first indigenous vaccine, being an Indian I am so proud of this fact and especially after our esteemed Prime Minister posed a photo getting Covaxin). Suddenly Covishield started looking less appealing. Despite having researched so much on both the vaccines data, one tiny part of my brain kept nudging me as to having missed something important. But now it couldnt be undone.
Unfortunately my vaccination due date collided with the date the senior citizens were to start vaccination. At the vaccination centre, it was like a madhouse, with so many old people, all at one place, no social distancing. I was partly afraid that some might even contract Corona from here instead of getting protection. I came back. Tried on 2 other occasions as I came to know that finally Covishield had arrived..!! But again the same situation, overcrowded vaccination centres, overworked staff and I came back unvaccinated. Somebody advised to register on the portal. Cowin app I m sure most of you must have seen..I have never such a useless app before (If not seen, please download from playstore and have a mind blowing experience). Tried Aarogya Setu app, thankfully they had information but only about 1st dose. Saw my vaccination certificate for the 1st time there and Voila.. as per it I had been administered Covaxin…!!
On top of it Government of India has stated that the 1st dose vaccination will be nullified if 2nd dose is not taken within 42 days of 1st dose. Disappointed, I tried to forego the 2nd dose. But then I thought lets give a try. With the 42nd day fast approaching, I had no other option but to go the traditional Indian way. I am sorry to say this and I am not all a fan of this but somehow everywhere there is no other way except for resorting to this method. So an official was approached via a friend and I am so grateful to that person, that he put in extra effort for my vaccination. Finally it was done after lots of hassles.
Also I came to know that in my vaccination certificate, that if I get one, it will again be mentioned Covaxin.. (on equiring about the same, it was mentioned that there were many technical glitches while entering the 1st dose information, so better to forget it)!! To ponder over, lets say for a moment, if a person gets confused after seeing the certificate, as to which vaccine was administered, this was a sure shot bummer as both vaccines cant be interchanged.
But all complaints aside, I got my 2nd dose and me and my family were happy about it with the hope that no major side effects occur this time. Finally Trouble Over !!
I am not all about criticism, many people have received 2nd dose without any issues. I shared my experience. This was just to brief about the problems we can anticipate with 2nd dose. This was my experience as a healthcare worker, I am yet to imagine what will happen to the rest of population when it comes to 2 nd dose, as to how this will be done on such a large scale. With a country so vast as ours with a whooping 135 crore population, it is surely going to be an uphill task for everyone especially hospitals and their staff. Maybe since this was a 1st time experience for everybody so things should gradually smooth out and I am sincerely hoping for the same. Hope with time, a more planned process is put into effect.
But at your end, be prepared, remember when you got your 1st shot and with which vaccine. Don’t be entirely dependent on Government papers. Be self sufficient.
But definitely get vaccinated.
Stay safe/Stay protected/Keep your loved ones safe!!
Dr Garima| themoppetsclinic