Wednesday, May 05, 2021

First shot

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”...


  1. I was there on 5 May in the morning as well at the Co-ed School, Bhogal vaccination Centre with someone who took the jab as well. I think it was very well organised and took about an half an hour's wait (8.30 to 9 am) outside before they opened the gates. Once we were inside they provided chairs placed in line for the 5 sites, assigned with labels for each site. Yes, people tried jumping the queue each time persons (5 at a time) were summoned into the vaccination rooms. Thereafter it took around 45 minutes, including the mandatory waiting time after the shots were given. So no need to complain at all and one just wonders if this grouching is warranted or represents one of the so called "entitled" types the blogger refers to in this post?!

    1. Assuming you really were there on the 5th morning, it sounds from your comment that you were among the very first lot of people who were let into the school gate and then asked to sit on the chairs with labels for each site. That being the case, you are in no position to know anything about what I mentioned here: that when the next lot of us entered the gate (after the chairs had already been occupied and we had to stand in lines behind the chairs), the crowd-controllers told us that the lines did NOT correspond to site numbers and that it was okay for anyone to stand in any line.

      Since I had brought along my house help (who is very poor sighted and was nervous about the large crowd), I stood in the same line as her so as to better guide her though our site numbers were different. This in turn contributed to my later problems with getting to the right spot in my own line (after the decision was suddenly made that the lines WERE meant to represent the sites).

      Anyway, no point going on about this. I stated my personal experience, focused on the worrying lack of crowd management, and certainly didn't write this post as a relentless gripe (I even said that I had expected a longer wait and was relieved to get done in a little over 3 hours from the time of reaching the venue). If you think a post like this represents "entitlement", well, I could just as easily submit that your comment represents damage-control from the Delhi govt's IT cell or whatever...