Went for my first Covaxin shot this morning, at the Co-Ed School in Jangpura. Important as it was to get this done, the crowd-management was nerve-wrackingly shoddy -- and, as always, some people were behaving very entitled. (The image below is from the Twitter account of someone else who was at the same venue today.) This was easily the largest group of humans I had been in close proximity to since Feb last year, and N95 mask and gloves and sanitiser notwithstanding, it felt like there was about as much chance of catching an infection as of being guarded against it.
Don’t want to complain too much, since these are extraordinary times with all sorts of challenges for the new centres (the Jangpura school authorities apparently didn’t know till the night before the first day of vaccinations – May 3 – that they had been designated as a centre; on the first two days, despite 9 AM slots being offered, the vaccines only arrived at the centre well past 10 AM, by which point there was a long line in the narrow lane outside the school). But it does feel like some hitches can be comfortably avoided when you have a number of organisers, policemen and crowd-managers ready before the public starts coming in.
For instance: there were five vaccination rooms/sites and five lines of people in the courtyard, waiting to be called to the sites. So far, so good. Unfortunately the initial crowd-controllers confidently told the queuing hordes that the lines didn’t correspond to site numbers; that anyone could stand wherever, as long as they stood in clearly defined rows. Of course, the school premises then began filling up alarmingly (perhaps the idea was to relieve some of the pressure on the lane outside) – and around an hour later, as a new group of peremptory officials showed up, it was decreed that the lines *were* meant to represent the site numbers after all. Which then caused a superb shuffle as people rushed past each other to grab chairs and standing spots in other lines. Naturally: no distancing, much arguing, and even a couple of half-hearted threats of physical violence (followed by laughter and cheeky retorts: “Aaja, gale lag jaa. Vaccination aaj milay ya nahin, tu mujhse Covid toh le sakta hai”).
Also, a last-minute server issue combined with the late arrival of one of the nurses meant that one of the five sites (mine) was left orphaned for a long time while other people from the next time slot, who had only just arrived, swished past us to all the other rooms.
All that said, I spent only a little over three hours at the venue, which was acceptable (had steeled myself for a longer wait). Now I’m sitting with fingers crossed, with this big covered bowl of steaming water in front of me, hoping the N95 did what it was supposed to and that my next writing project won’t be the posthumously published “If the virus don’t get you, the vaccine will”...