A nurse in Kerala administered vaccine to 893 people in seven and a half hours and state health minister Veena Geroge felicitated her on Monday in Pathanamthitta district for this record of sorts, but her feat hasn’t gone down well with the medical community.
Meanwhile, the state reported 30,203 Covid positive cases with a high test positivity rate of 18.86% on Tuesday after 160,152 samples were tested. The active caseload rose to 218,292 and the state also reported 115 deaths, said the state health ministry.
Many experts have criticised the state’s crave for ‘records’ when it remained the pandemic capital of the country contributing around 70% of the total cases. They said as per the statistics more than 100 vaccines would have been given in an hour. But going by the medical practice, they said, 5 to 10 minutes are needed for each inoculation, as the person will be asked about the possibility of medical reaction and case history, if any, before administering it.
They said it is difficult to give more than 25 vaccines in an hour even if somebody helped the nurse. What irked professionals are that the minister’s office released the news with photos of the event underlining the ‘record’.
Many health activists also took to social media to criticise it. “It shows the state will stoop to so low to create records,” an activist said, not wishing to be named. Others asked the government to stop its soft corner for records which landed it in a sorry state.
After the incident kicked off a row, the nurse at Chenganur government hospital, K Pushpalata, said it was not done for any record and that it was a collective work.
“I did not do this for record but I met all procedures and rules. It was a collective venture,” she said. Later the minister also criticised those who made it a controversy. “Everything can’t be seen in negative way. Some people only see the negative side and try to portray all good work in bad light,” she said, asking them not to de-motivate overworked health workers.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to conduct only RT-PCR tests in six districts that completed around 80% of vaccination. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said three districts — Wayanad, Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam — have crossed 80% vaccine coverage, and Thiruvnanthapuram, Idukki and Kasaragod are about to reach 80%. Only RT-PCR tests will be done in these districts.
Many experts have earlier criticised the state’s overdependence on antigen tests which still formed around 40% of total tests. “We are on a mission to inoculate all eligible population by September-end. We have covered those above 60 years well,” the CM said, after chairing a core committee meeting on pandemic.
The state clamped night curfew from Monday and decided to conduct a sero prevalence study to determine the immunity of people against the Sars-Cov 2 virus and find out whether some mutation has taken place in the state. But many experts criticised the night curfew move. “We have no idea who suggested it. As such the state has no night life,” said Dr N M Arun, an internal medicine expert.
The health minister said nod for the sero study was granted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and samples will be collected from all parts of the state. “This study will help streamline our preventive measures and we can find out how much per cent of people got immunity so far. We can make targeted vaccination and testing based on its findings. We are trying hard to complete at least one dose to all eligible people by September-end,” she said.