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ASHA worker left out of drive: ‘Wanted to take vaccine…couldn’t take leave’

WHILE PANCHKULA vaccinated as many as 266 healthcare workers on the first day of the vaccination drive, an ASHA worker was left out as she had to conduct a Covid survey in her area.

Neelam Devi, 26, whose name had figured in the first 100 to take the dose at GD4 vaccination centre of Panchkula, was busy doing her duty as an ASHA worker in Sector 20, Panchkula. She has been doing her job for the past seven years.

“I wanted to take the vaccine. It is not that I did not go due to any apprehensions but because I had to work. We have to submit a report each day. There was no way I could take leave,” she says.

Even though she had reasoned with the officiating person who made the call asking her to present herself for vaccination, she was given a simple ‘ok’. “I had received a call early in the morning and was told my name is on the list. I told them I would not be able to make it as I have to be on duty. I had expected they would ask me to take a break for a few hours or give me leave. But instead, all I got was an ok.”

Returning from her duty at around 3 pm, she would have gone had it not been for her four-month-old son, born amid the pandemic. “I had a sharp headache when I returned. My son was crying, I could not leave him,” she adds.

Neelam has worked throughout the pandemic only taking leave for a month or so when her due date was near. She has been at the forefront conducting surveys for the highly infectious Covid-19 keeping tabs on its spread in containment zones created in her area.

She now expects to get the dose of the vaccine on her day off.

266 get the shot on day one

As many as 266 healthcare workers, comprising class IV employees, sweepers, peons posted at hospitals, Anganwadi workers, ASHAs and nurses as well as doctors, were vaccinated against an expected 300.

While 100 each were injected at CHC Raipurrani and Alchemist hospital, 66 were given the vaccine at GD4 centre of Panchkula.

ACS Rajeev Arora remained present for the first dose of vaccination, given to sweeper Saroj Bala at the GD4 centre of Panchkula.

Those who got the vaccine shot at Panchkula included Dr Suraj Bhan Kamboj, Director General Health Services, Haryana; Dr Veena Singh, Additional Director General Health Services, Haryana; Dr V K Bansal, Director MCH (Maternal and Child Health Programme); Dr Rajiv Narwal, nodal officer for Covid in Panchkula; and Senior Medical Officer Dr Mankirat.

With 9,040 doses, Panchkula is set to vaccinate 6,219 healthcare workers, including 3,541 healthcare workers posted with the government hospitals while the rest working at private institutions.

Along with government hospitals, Alchemist is the only private hospital which is designated as a vaccination centre in Panchkula district. It gave vaccination shots to 34 doctors, 48 nurses and 18 members of paramedical staff on Saturday.

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