At home with vaccination

Over 200 senior citizens and disabled people in Lahore have already received the Covid-19 vaccine shots at home. Did they have the same experience as those who visited the vaccination centres?

People have generally regarded the process as smooth. — Photo by Rahat Dar

The Punjab government’s Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department recently started a home vaccination service. The service is available to senior citizens — people above 80 years of age — and those who are homebound because of some disability and cannot get to a vaccination centre.

At least three ambulances are reported to have been designated for providing the service in Lahore. These are equipped with latest technology required to deal with medical emergencies. Besides, they carry a doctor each.

The service can be availed by calling/messaging on the helpline 1033.

Do the homebound people have the same experience as those who visit the vaccination centres?

For Rana Ahmar, who got his 82 years old grandmother vaccinated at home, it was “such a relief. She [his grandmother] is immobile, and the only way to get her the jab was to do it without causing her the hardship of transportation.”

Ahmar, who is employed in the education sector, says that a trained paramedic administered the vaccine. They waited for about 15 minutes to check for any side effects. All this while, the ambulance stood outside their home on standby.

When asked if the staff checked the vitals such as BP, glucose levels and pulse rate prior to giving the jab, Ahmar said: “No, nothing of the sort, perhaps because we had already shared with them a detailed health report of my grandmother.

“The process was smooth,” he added.

Hameed Begum, 84, is a resident of DHA, who is bedridden because of paralysis. Her family spoke to TNS about her home vaccination. They called it “very convenient. She got vaccinated in the presence of two trained female nurses who first checked her vitals, while an ambulance was parked up outside, to deal with any emergency.”

Fardeen Zafar, the owner of an ink factory, expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of service. He said, “The staff that came to our house wasn’t friendly. They asked me if I had contracted Covid-19 in the past three months. I told them that I did, and that I had braved it with grit and resolve. They [the staff] seemed indifferent and rather untrained.”

That the vaccine doses gave Zafar memory issues and lethargy for a good few days is another story altogether. For many people, home vaccination service is proving a blessing. The president of Punjab Medical Association (PMA), Dr Ashraf Nizami, has gone on record to endorse the service. He hopes that it will go some way towards helping the government achieve its target of mass immunisation.

At least three ambulances are reported to have been designated for providing the service in Lahore.— Photo:

Meanwhile, the government has tightened the noose around those not following the bio-safety SOPs in public spaces. Reportedly, the local police have fined hundreds of violators in the city already. Besides, several areas in Lahore have been put under a strict lockdown. Last weekend, in a radical move, all businesses were asked to close on Saturdays and Sundays; only essential service providers would continue as usual. The traders have strongly opposed the decision.

The third wave of coronavirus continues to wreak havoc, but some people still don’t seem to take it seriously. Aleena Farooq Sheikh, the host of Geo News’s Report Card, said in one of her recent shows that lockdowns and mass vaccination were the only solution to the current crisis. Mehmal Sarfraz, a political analyst on the same show, urged the government to go to any extent to contain the virus.

Dr Faisal Sultan, the prime minister’s special assistant on health, and Dr Yasmeen Rashid, the provincial health minister, have been talking to media on a regular basis to give updates on the procurement of vaccines and facilitating the elderly and disabled. They also urge the people to strictly follow the SOPs.

The writer is a   pursuing a degree in mass communication and media studies at the   University of    Central Punjab

At home with vaccination