COVID VACCINATION DRIVE – from the Youth’s point of view

By Kriplani Chauhan.

Project Vikas, Enactus Gargi, a community of student leaders who aim to use the power of entrepreneurial action to inspire change, conducted a ten-day survey on “Covid Vaccination Drive- from the Youth’s Point of View”. This survey was largely organised for individuals between 18-44 years of age. Its aim was to generate awareness among people who haven’t been vaccinated yet by recording the relevant experiences of the ones who have.

The age-wise composition of all individuals who were a part of the survey is as follows-

When the government announced vaccination for all adult Indians on 28 April’21, it was met with a vehement debate by the youth on the grounds of “How effective is the vaccine?”, ”What are its side effects?”, ”What procedure and precautions do we follow?”. Moreover, the initial dialogue on the competency of these vaccines further fuelled the dubiety of these young citizens.

But, since the roll-out of vaccines has been initiated (on the 1st of May’21), the aforementioned community has accepted and embraced the process of getting their first Covid-19 vaccine dose. It is apparent from the survey that most individuals got vaccinated between 5th-7th of May’21.

Though the figures from the survey depict that it was quite a struggle to book a vaccination slot(s) through the CoWin website (https://www.cowin.gov.in/home) after signing up/registering, the affair that followed was fairly simple and hassle-free.

27.5% of the survey takers felt that it was extremely gruelling to book a slot, whereas approximately 20% people found it relatively easier, followed by the rest who were fortunate enough to book an appointment comfortably.

Riya Chawla (F,21) a resident of New Delhi cites- “I was grateful to my sister as she managed to book a slot for my vaccination as soon as she got the opportunity because it’s really difficult to get a slot these days. My experience at the vaccination was smooth & quick. Overall, it was an overwhelming experience for me as I had been waiting for this day since a year. I was happy to get my first shot!”

Nidhi Bhardwaj (F,18) a resident of Faridabad shares her experience– “Registration process was bit difficult considering the population of our country. Seats get filled up real quick. Luckily, we (my father, my mother and I) got our slots on the same date but the centres were at three different locations. That was inconvenient for us. However, the vaccination centre had good sanitation facility. The staff were also really helpful and well behaved. People were standing in queue. The process was very disciplined, well-managed and comfortable. People had masks on. Overall, the experience was great!”

For the majority of survey-takers (44%), the vaccination centre was within 0-5 kms of range, whereas for 26.4% it was 5-10 kms, 10-20 kms for 18.7% and the rest had to span a distance exceeding 20 kms to get the jab. It will not be an exaggeration to conclude that a majority of vaccination centres have maintained good to excellent sanitation levels as validated by 78.1% of the survey-takers. Regrettably, a small number of people still had to face sanitary conditions that ranged from below average to poor. Unfortunately, some individuals did face some unanticipated difficulties at the vaccination centres even after successfully booking a slot.

As Gursimar Kaur (F,19) from Panipat addresses- “My vaccination experience was quite tiring. Firstly, my centre was located at a very crowded spot. It was at the UPHC but the location was like a narrow lane where hardly any vehicles could be parked. It was full of people standing in long queues not following the social distancing guidelines. There was no prior arrangement by the regulators and we had to stand in that queue and wait for our turn. The vaccination process was quite simple. It hardly took 5 minutes or less to take the vaccine but later there was no arrangement for any observational wait. We were asked to go home straightaway.”

Post vaccination, some individuals were asked to stay back for observation. Niyati (F,20) from Delhi tells us “I went to a government school to get my vaccine. I didn’t expect government setups will be this organized. I found a slot after searching and refreshing for 3.5 hours. I wore a face shield, double mask and gloves and carried a spray bottle with sanitizer in it. I got my shot within 20 mins of reaching as there were not many people. After getting the shot I stayed there for half an hour under observation.”

A majority of the individuals acknowledged that the overall process of getting vaccinated was smooth, well-managed and satisfactory. However, there are some side-effects that accompany the poke. Most individuals experienced the following post vaccination- fever (accompanied by chills for some individuals), body ache, headache, nausea and, swelling/numbness in the injected arm. According to the survey, these after-effects last for a maximum of two days and can be easily dealt with- using at-home remedies and easily available prescription drugs (like Paracetamol). Into the bargain, 1 in 15 people did not face these after-effects while on the contrary 4 out of 15 people had extreme experiences.

Manika Dhingra (F,19), Delhi expresses- “I had a fever: 102.5 degrees and body ache. I was experiencing chills in my body accompanied by uneasiness.” Tanvi Garg (F,20) an inhabitant of Kurukshetra cites- “I was little scared at first but luckily everything went fine and I didn’t get fever or any other symptom like that after vaccination.”

Well, the survey didn’t end on an inconclusive note, following are some measures one can stick to during the whole process of getting vaccinated- from the click of your keyboard to the poke on your arm:

  • Get yourself registered as soon as possible and don’t delay your vaccination dose keeping in view the uncertain conditions.

As is rightly put by Gurjyot Khurana (M,22), Delhi- “Dispel fear and doubts, get jabbed.” and Vignesh Iyer (M,18), Bareilly- “Make sure you get your dose. It gives emotional confidence.

  • Keep trying to book an appointment if you haven’t been able to find a slot yet. It is easier to locate a slot at night (preferably after midnight).

Rhea S (F,19) a Mumbaikar mentions- “Get in touch with someone who has booked a slot and take their advice to book yours. There are many tricks. And don’t hesitate to get vaccinated.”

  • Don’t forget to eat before going.
  • Avoid heavy physical activities before/post vaccination. Take ample rest the day before and after vaccination.
  • Make sure you have a rough idea about the waiting time.
  • If possible, book a weekend slot so you have time to recover without letting it affect your work and daily routine.
  • Adopt the ‘double-masking’ approach and keep a sanitizer with you at all times while you visit the vaccination centre.
  • Stay calm, hydrated and vigil during the entire process.
  • If possible, take the shot in the arm that you use less (left arm for right-handers and right for left-handers).

Simran Katoch (F,20) a Delhiite shares- “Eat and sleep well before the vaccine. Carry water with you and try not to go alone.

  • Carry all the required documents with you. Aastha Mohanty (F,21) a resident of Noida conveys- “Make sure to check for yourself, and your beneficiary, whether your CoWin status has been updated on the portal as ‘partially vaccinated’ since I faced an issue with that. Documentation is very important- make sure to download your certificate at the centre itself, if you’re unable to, take assistance from the registration desk.

We urge the youth to get the jab as soon as possible and aim to return to the pre-pandemic situation- stronger, powerful and better. Let us all be responsible citizens and beat the crisis together!

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