Chandigarh: February 24: Making an earnest effort to romp up the vaccination drive by dispelling the hesitancy and misconceptions among the healthcare workers over the COVID-19 vaccine being administered, PGIMER organised an open house here at Bhargava Auditorium, PGIMER today.

Participated by over 400 healthcare workers, the open house was graced by Prof. Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER as the Chief Guest. The other dignitaries present on the occasion included Prof. A.K. Gupta, Medical Superintendent, Shri Kumar Gaurav Dhawan, Deputy Director (Administration), Shri Kumar Abhay, Financial Advisor, Prof. Surinder S. Pandav, Chairman Institute COVID 19 Vaccination Committee, Prof. Vipin Koushal, Addl. Medical Superintendent, Prof. Pankaj Malhotra, Prof. Madhu Gupta, Prof. Sanjay Verma, and Dr. Mahesh Devnani, Joint Medical Superintendent.

Addressing the audience, Prof. Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER stated, “With the cases again surging in some of the states including Punjab, an overall downward trend in the country does not necessarily guarantee a continued and consistent decline in cases. Also, the new strain of the virus observed in India being far more transmissible, there is no room for any lackadaisical approach.”

“This clearly indicates that the COVID-19 is very much here and has not ‘gone away’ as is generally being presumed. So the threat of getting ‘infected’ is very much real even now considering the ‘vulnerability’ of the healthcare workers due to the exposure,” said the Director as he stressed the urgency for the healthcare workers to go ahead with the vaccination.

Prof. A.K.Gupta, Medical Superintendent, gave an interesting analogy as he said, “We work in a scientific institution and we trust the information that does not have any scientific evidence. It rather looks a little strange. So let us believe in ‘medical science’ and be safe ourselves and save others as well.”

Deliberating on the prevalent myths and misconceptions regarding the vaccine, Shri Kumar Gaurav Dhawan, Deputy Director (Administration), said that all of us have elder and ailing relatives and young children in our families, so why be the potential source of infection to those, for whom we care the most.”

While countering the disabling factors to pace up the vaccination drive Prof. Surinder S. Pandav, Chairman COVID-19 Vaccination Committee, stated, “Rumours are being spread on social media about the efficacy of vaccines. It seems that healthcare workers are hesitating to get inoculated as they might have been influenced by social media.”

Prof. Madhu Gupta equated the vaccine to her ‘own child’ being the principal investigator of the trials 2 and 3 of Covishield vaccine here in PGIMER. Dr Sanjay Verma addressed all the prevalent myths with scientific logic and Dr Pankaj Malhotra shared that out of over 4000 healthcare workers inoculated so far, only 2 became positive and these 2 are the ones who were already in the incubation period.

The open house witnessed a very interesting question answer session and motivating examples by those who have already been vaccinated.

Aptly concluding the open house, Dr Mahesh Devnani said, “Getting vaccinated, wearing a proper mask, following hand hygiene and social distancing is the mainstay to prevent Covid-19 infection.”