‘No Guarantee of Vaccine Availability’: Chaotic Scenes at a Bihar Centre
With hundreds waiting to get vaccinated outside a small centre, there was no room for any social distancing.
English Script: Mayank Chawla
Video Editors: Mohd Irshad Alam, Vivek Gupta
Imagine standing in a queue for several hours, outside a small, dingy room, with hundreds struggling to enter at once, desperate to get a COVID vaccine shot. And then returning home, without getting the jab, because either the vaccine doses got over or the medical staff had to abruptly end the drive for not being able to manage the crowd and chaos.
This is the daily reality at a vaccination centre at Hathauri village in Bihar's Darbhanga district.
When The Quint visited the centre, there was utter chaos. The vaccine drive was put on hold temporarily, while a miffed crowd waited outside. "We have been waiting here for two hours now. We cannot get our vaccines because of the swelling crowd. There is no one to help us here," said a dejected Arun Paswan.
NO MASKS, NO SOCIAL DISTANCING; SOME EVEN BROUGHT THEIR BABIES TO THE CENTRE
With hundreds waiting to get vaccinated outside a small centre, there was naturally no room for any social distancing. Desperate to get vaccinated, people tried to forcibly enter the centre, breaking queues, pushing other people, and arguing with the healthcare personnel.
Bereft of even a security guard to control the crowd or implement COVID-appropriate behaviour, most people 'forgot' to wear masks to the centre. When confronted by The Quint, some quickly covered their mouths with a gamcha (towel).
Some parents even brought their babies along to the centre, where social distancing norms had gone for a toss.
In many instances, several members of a family had arrived at the same time, to get the vaccine shot. When we asked them, why couldn't some come on one day, and others on another day, to avoid over-crowding and reduce the risk of infections, they said there was no guarantee when the vaccine doses would be available next.
"There is no guarantee that the vaccines will be available tomorrow. I had to get my wife today too, and thus, we had to bring our child with us. Otherwise, who will take care of my child at home?"Santosh, Local resident
HELPLESS STAFF HAD TO HALT THE VACCINE DRIVE TEMPORARILY
With no visible arrangements for senior citizens, a helpless Kallo Devi had to leave the vaccination centre and come back to try her luck after some time. But, the situation was pretty much the same. "I was standing in the line for a really long time. Then I went back because of the crowd. It's no different now," said Devi.
While staff members struggled to manage the crowd, the vaccination drive eventually halted. Reeling under the pressure of being understaffed, the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) workers complained of a lack of support from the government.
"Everyone wants to get vaccinated first and, it has led to overcrowding. Our staff is not able to manage the crowd. We had informed the concerned authorities but, we have not received help."Saurabh Suman, Nodal officer
According to the local data operator, at least 500 people are vaccinated daily at the centre.
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