People can now get their vaccinations late at night at a couple of centres.
Two mega vaccination centres in the city help busy people get vaccinated late into the night. The Malleswaram Mega Vaccination Centre is open 24×7 while the one at Yelahanka is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. People prefer them because the crowd is less and the process faster. Several of them get their doses after 9 p.m., on returning from work.
Mohammed Shahul Hameed, who is pursuing journalism, got his second dose at 9 p.m. at the centre said that the availability of a vaccination center during late hours proved to be beneficial for him. This experience was better than when he got his first dose at a city hospital, he said. That time, when he walked into the hospital and saw the doctors he was afraid, but at Malleswaram his experience was smooth. It felt like an actual vaccination drive, he added.
Dr. Sushil Kumar Ichini, public health consultant and vaccination nodal officer at Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), said that Malleswaram’s mega vaccination center set up at Youngsters Kabaddi Club, Kondandarampura, and opened in the third week of September was designed to work for longer hours as compared to other vaccination centers. The center is managed by CARE India, an NGO, he added.
Dr. Ravindra Sharma, senior strategic programmer at CARE India explained that the staff is available during the night for people who drive in or walk in late.
Dr. Ankit, supervisor at the vaccination center, said that around 20-30 people turn up for vaccination after 9 p.m. daily. Rush in the morning hours and work commitments are the reasons why people visit the center at night, he said. Moreover, hospitals are not fully dedicated vaccination centers and people often fear catching hospital-acquired infectious diseases, he further said. Hence, to avoid the long waiting hours and queues, people prefer such vaccination centers, he added.
Another beneficiary, Rishi Baid, who went to the center around 11 p.m., said that she has to attend college and other work commitments. Hence, this facility has proven to be convenient for her. For the first dose she had to wait for two hours to get vaccinated but at the Malleswaram centre the process was quicker in the late-night slot, she added.
Dr. Kabir Hossan, night-shift vaccinator at the center, said that people come in good numbers late in the night but there are times when just two people arrive around 1 or 2 a.m. In such cases they can’t vaccinate them as they require a minimum of five to six people to open a fresh vial else the remaining amount will go waste, he added. Hence, it is beneficial for people who work throughout the day and want to avoid crowds. But at the same time the vaccinators need to follow the protocol of not wasting the vaccine as instructed by BBMP, he further said.
Since the centre allows people to prioritize their work and go for vaccination at any time, the crowd is less which aligns with Covid protocols, said Dr. Chandra Shekar, team leader at the Institute of Public Health, Bangalore. It is a good initiative by the government and citizens should make good use of it, he added.
Dr. Ichini said that depending on the current trends and in case of demands, BBMP would come up with a third mega vaccination center if required. Moreover, he said that they expect to complete the process of vaccination by December end or January.
Vaccination mobile centers would also be set up in Bengaluru soon and the plan is being discussed with BBMP, said Dr. Ankit. These mobile centers will focus on slums and remote areas. It is expected to start after 20 days as the initiative is still in the planning phase, said Dr. Sharma.