Mumbai: Cooper hospital’s model vaccination centre to be ready today

A 4,000 square feet building right opposite the Dr RN Cooper hospital’s canteen in Mumbai was earlier supposed to be used as a hostel. In March, it was converted into an isolation facility for Covid-19 patients. On December 29, work to convert it into a model vaccination centre began.

Over 30 labourers are now working on war footing day and night to prepare the model centre in Cooper hospital. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked contractor Eckon to hand over the centre by Monday night.

Cooper hospital, along with seven BMC hospitals, has been selected for the first phase of immunisation of healthcare workers. Mumbai has registered 1.26 lakh heathcare workers for vaccination in the first phase.

On Sunday, the Drug Controller General of India approved emergency restricted use of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccines.

BMC officials said they expect the vaccine roll out to begin soon and have asked contractors to speed up work. On Sunday evening, labourers were busy painting chairs for waiting areas at Cooper hospital, with some setting up beds and some finishing off electrical work.

“We began civil work last week and have only a day to finish work. We are not changing the basic infrastructure since it was already being used as an isolation ward,” an on site Eckon contractor said. While the K West ward is handling drainage and installation of curtains or partitions, BMC’s maintenance department is going to set up signages.

The centre will have a waiting area under a shed at the entrance. The registration will be done in a corridor, which leads into three vaccination rooms. In each room, around five persons can be vaccinated at a time.

An observation room further down the corridor will have several chairs to monitor each vaccinated beneficiary for half an hour. In case of anaphylactic reaction or severe adverse effects, the beneficiary will be transferred to two other rooms that house beds and emergency medical equipment.

Dr Pinakin Gujjar, Dean of Cooper hospital, said a team of specialists from anaesthesia, ENT, chest and general medicine will be available to handle severe adverse effects. “We did not have to spend a lot on the centre, we just had to spruce up the existing facility. We are installing water cooler and repairing toilets,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.

BMC currently has selected five storage centres – in KEM, Nair, Sion and Cooper hospitals as well as the F South health office – where the first batch of vaccine will be stocked. A nodal storage facility is, meanwhile, under construction in Kanjurmarg.

The Cooper hospital vaccination centre can vaccinate 2,000 people a day. Ten teams will be deputed to work in two shifts for the purpose.

With Cooper hospital being the main vaccination centre in western suburbs, BMC is mulling over creating a token system at the registration counter. “It is possible that a huge crowd comes at the same time for vaccination. To prevent overcrowding at the verification counter, a token will be issued to beneficiaries to create a waiting list and house them in the waiting area,” Kakani said.