'Mismanagement, Crowds at My Hyderabad COVID Vaccine Centre, Now Shut'
I visited the COVID vaccination centre thrice and witnessed mismanagement of some kind each time.
With government-run COVID-19 centres in Hyderabad witnessing an unprecedented rush, social distancing norms are going for a toss. With the prevalant mismanagement and miscommunication at the centres, getting vaccinated against the coronavirus has become a chaotic task.
I visited the Chandanagar Madhapur CVC vaccination centre in the Rangareddy district thrice: On 12 July, 15 July, and 29 July. The first visit for my own vaccination, while the second for my sister's. The last visit was to check, as a concerned citizen, if the situation had changed.
While on the first two days, crowds were aplenty, on Thursday, 29 July, those waiting outside for their jab told me that the centre had been shut since five days. There was no official around that was answerable for the situation. People were wondering where to go for their second dose.
On 12 July, I reached the centre at 8.30 am in the morning and there was already a queue or rather, a crowd, that was waiting for the centre to open since 7 am to get the jab.
The most disappointing bit was that no official from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) took the responsibility to manage the crowds or enforce COVID norms like social distancing. No one informed them about when the centre would open for vaccination. Men and women without masks were violating all COVID norms while waiting at the vaccination centre.
At 10:30 am, without any announcements, the inner gates of the centre were opened and a huge crowd of people rushed inside. After crossing over, people started gathering around the entrance of the vaccination room to get inside. At this time, too, there were no announcements made about regulations or the vaccination process.
More than 300 people gathered around the gates, pushing each other to get inside. Only two policemen were present to manage such a huge crowd.
As soon as the room opened, people rushed again. As a consequence, many people, including a 74-year-old woman, fell on the ground. The old lady hurt herself while people walked past her to move inside. Chaotic and stampede-like situations were witnessed by me that day.
Miscommunication and Confusion at Centre
Upon entering, slots were being assigned for the vaccine. Many people, who had braved through the rush learned that they had to register outside first.
Devendara Rao, a local who had come to get vaccinated at the centre, told me,
"I was waiting here since 7 am in the morning. They opened the gates at 10:30 am, and after entering with such a crowd I was told that I need to go out to get myself registered first. They could have informed the same outside."
Many like Devendara were left disappointed by the lack of communication by GHMC officials. The worst was the number of people returning without their dose, as the centre was only administering Covishield that day, even though the boards outside mentioned Covaxin would be administered.
"I have already taken the first dose of Covaxin. After waiting for so long and exposing myself to the crowd, I was told that they only have Covishield. The boards outside, however, say Covaxin available for those above 18 years. They could have made some announcement or put the correct information on the boards."Vinayak* (name changed), Local
On 15 July, when I visited the centre with my sister, only Covishield was being administered but the management remained chaotic. Many people over there were complaining about the mismanagement by government officials.
They heard several people complaining to GHMC officials and amongst themselves about the poor management of the vaccination drive. They mentioned that if GHMC could have allotted more officials and made proper announcements, this chaos could have been prevented.
Events of 29 July
At around 9 am on 29 July, I found around 20 people standing outside the shuttered centre with their Aadhaar cards. Most of them were there to get their second dose. Sandeep, who got his first dose at this centre and was waiting to get his second dose, told me:
"I have been visiting the centre since Monday and everyday I come here at 8 am, because the last time when I came here, ie on 1 July, it was very crowded. There is no board, no official, no one to tell us about when the centre will open."Sandeep, Local
Srinivas Goud, another local from the area, had the same issue.
“They have displayed a big board regarding vaccination at this centre at the community hall and the gate of the lane, but when you come here, you see that there is no vaccine being administered. At least inform us so that people don’t come here and waste their time."
As I waited, a sweeper who maintained the community hall told me that the vaccination centre had been shifted to Mayur Vihar and now doses will be given there, starting 1 August. When asked, he was not sure if some information would be displayed at the location about such a change.
This kind of mismanagement and lack of information to the public would slow down the state's vaccination efforts. People at the centre during my first two visits were lamenting similarly. Some wondered if GHMC could have allotted more officials and made proper announcements to prevent such a chaos.
Indeed, as a local told me on 29 July, this mismanagement was going on since a long time.
“I got my first dose here and there were just five nurses and five computer technicians. All of them stayed inside a room, while the crowd outside was managed by one guard, and at times two police officials manage the crowd. Officials don’t seem to inform people or ask them not to rush, and people don’t seem to care about the COVID norms either. Now, centre has been closed without any notification."
(The author is a Masters student. All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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