Kerala nurse administers Covid jabs to 893 in 7.5 hours

Bouquets and brickbats as Kerala nurse administers Covid-19 vaccine to 893 in 7.5 hours

A social media post of the minister appreciating Pushpalatha triggered a debate in the social media over the nurse's achievement

Health Minister Veena George with Pushpalatha. Credit: Special Arrangement

A nurse at a government hospital in Kerala is in the news for administering Covid-19 vaccines to 893 persons in 7.5 hours.

While she invited much appreciation and was honoured by Kerala Health Minister Veena George, a section of health workers have raised concerns asking whether it was possible to administer vaccine to 893 persons in 7.5 hours by ensuring safety parametres.

Pushpalatha, a junior public health nurse at Chengannur district hospital in Alappuzha district, administered vaccine to 893 persons in 7.5 hours on August 15. Her act received much attention after health minister called on her on Monday and honoured her especially since Kerala is on a drive to vaccinate all aged above 18 years by September. 

A social media post of the minister appreciating Pushpalatha triggered a debate in the social media over the nurse's achievement. While many heath workers raised concerns over the health risks involved in such hectic vaccination, many asked whether it was possible to administer this many vaccines by a nurse continuously. There were also criticisms that health workers were overloaded with work.

Pushpalatha said that it was made possible due to a team work involving eight staff. Many, especially migrant workers, turned up for getting vaccinated during the day. The available health officials decided not to return anyone without vaccinating them. 

Pushpalatha, who was quite experienced in vaccination, said the team took only minimum breaks in between and hence it was possible to vaccinate all who turned up. She took hardly 20 seconds to vaccinate a person. The entire vaccination drive went on in a rhythmic manner, Pushpalatha, a musician-turned-nurse, told the media.

Public health expert and WHO former technical officer Dr S S Lal said that vaccination involved procedures like ensuring patient's health condition. It is good if the nurse and her team could administer Covid-19 vaccine to a large number of persons in a short span of time by following the procedures. But giving much publicity to it was not desirable as it may lead to unhealthy competitions, Lal added.

So far, 58 per cent of Kerala's population has received at least the first dose and the state was also ensuring zero wastage of vaccines.

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