Increasing number of reports of post-vaccination deaths and concerns about safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines might discourage a substantial number of healthcare workers from taking the jab.
Medical experts claim that 20 to 40 percent doctors In the country are reluctant to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
Dr Lingaiah Amidayala, Director, Medical Services, Yashoda Hospital Group, Hyderabad says that till February 2, about 2,500 doctors have been inoculated and 70 percent of them have reported side effects in the form of fever and mild body pain.
“However, no case of serious side effect has been reported in any of the three hospitals where the vaccination drive is being conducted,” Dr Amidayala added.
When asked what percentage of healthcare workers are likely to sit out of the drive, he said, “According to my estimation 70 to 80 percent doctors will take the vaccine. Rest might give it a miss.”
Dr Amidayala also admitted that initially when the vaccination drive begun on January 25, there was a lot of apprehension among young professionals.
However, senior doctors led by example and the juniors soon followed suit and took the jab, he said.
However, officials at other private hospitals also second Dr Amidayala and say that there is a possibility that despite a positive campaign being run by the government in favour of the two vaccines, healthcare professionals are concerned about its short and long term side effects.
RDA vice-president of Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, Dr Nirmalya Mohapatra says, that at his centre only about 50 to 60 percent healthcare workers are tuning up for vaccination, everyday.
“It is better than the starting week as initially the turnout was even lower,” Dr Mohapatra said.
A senior spokesperson from a reputed group of hospitals in Delhi-NCR, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “The number of healthcare workers refusing to take the shot will be more in private hospitals as compared to the government hospitals. It is because the government wants to make it a successful drive and government employees are also obligated to do that.”
Though the Health Ministry has categorically said that it is voluntary to take the vaccine, rumours have been doing the rounds claiming otherwise.
“Some say that they will not get their salary on time while many others are worried about their promotions and other government benefits. These are all rumours but it is working in favour of the drive,” a senior doctor from Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi said.
Till date, according to reports, 16 healthcare workers have died within1 to 10 days after being vaccinated.
However, the government has maintained that these deaths have nothing to do with inoculation.