GANGTOK: Dr Suresh Madan Rasaily became the first person to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Sikkim. The 52-year-old senior doctor from STNM Hospital in Gangtok received the Covishield vaccine on his left arm.
The state is eyeing 100 vaccination on the opening day at the Ayush Hospital in STNM Hospital premises in Sochakgang. The only other vaccination centre is at Geyzing District Hospital which will cater to health workers from South and West District.
By 2.45 pm, 90 out of the 100 beneficiaries were vaccinated at STNM Hospital. At Gyalshing District Hospital, West Sikkim total 40 beneficiaries were registered, out of which 30 got vaccinated.
There have been not a single AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) reported so far in the state.
Speaking with EastMojo after being inoculated, Dr Rasaily stated, “There is no privilege that comes with getting vaccinated first, there are a variety of other vaccines that we take from the flu vaccine to others. There is social media hype that has resulted in people panicking, but there is no reason to feel as such, as science is based on facts and studies. It is not built on opinion or what trends on social media. It is safe enough to take the vaccine.”
On Thursday, doctors and other staffs of the hospital were shortlisted for inoculation. It began with the inauguration of the vaccination drive by Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay followed by vaccination from 10: 30 am. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the countrywide vaccination drive from New Delhi, vide teleconferencing with every State.
Dr Rasaily further stated, “I was asked to go first and inoculated in my left arm. The right arm is the more functional one, I didn’t take it there to avoid pain. But there is no pain in my left arm as well, there was no giddiness that followed. What people and my friends outside of the state, who were vaccinated, have told that there is nausea, giddiness, or even fever, we stayed behind to check on the same for 30 minutes in the observation room. We are all fine (who were administered), there were no symptoms as such”.
The senior doctor said, “There is no guarantee. Just because we are vaccinated doesn’t mean we will not get sick. The vaccine gives us a certain amount of protection or maybe there won’t be permanent, dangerous diseases. Before, we did our COVID duty scared, just because I am vaccinated doesn’t mean I will be careless by not wearing PPE suit or masks, it will not happen. It’s a virus that will change its strain, you may have heard how strains are coming from outside. It depends from strain to strain, but this vaccine protects us from Pneumonitis or other sickness needing intensive care”.
The recipients of the vaccine have been given the freedom to go back home, with many other health workers claiming, “It is as children who get vaccinated and allowed home. Only change was to go alone to get vaccinated and maintain the 30 minutes of observation protocol,” said the doctor.
There are 100 receiving the vaccine today, it is a mixture of doctors, sanitation staffs, nurses both senior and young, and doctors from various age groups.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay, who inaugurated the vaccination drive, congratulated the people of Sikkim. He stated, “First preference will be given to frontline workers and health workers, sanitation staffs. They have been the ones who have been most exposed to the COVID-19 virus. They have worked hard, leaving their home behind spending most of their time in the hospital. They have devoted their lives, so they will get first preference. Even in the second phase, politicians under the age of 50 will not receive the vaccination.”
The CM asserted that compared to other states, Sikkim has a low mortality rate. “Our mortality rate, those that have died of COVID 19 is less. But those with comorbidities have died more. But the way we have managed, with facility quarantine, it is better than other States. Opposition’s work is to oppose, they do not count positive talks but only negative”.