The ‘Inside Districts’ series launched in April 2020 is a one-of-its-kind attempt to capture the experiences of the district and Block-level officials, panchayat functionaries, beneficiaries and frontline workers, on their challenges and best practices.
This interview was conducted with an ASHA worker in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh in Hindi on 27 February 2021, and has been translated.
Q: Have you been vaccinated against COVID-19?
ASHA: Yes, I was given the first dose of the vaccine on 27 January 2021 and the second dose on 24 February 2021. All the frontline workers involved in health and nutrition services are being vaccinated right now.
Q: What information were you given prior to the vaccination? Did you have apprehensions?
ASHA: I was informed about the vaccination 2-3 days before through a text message from the Medical Officer (MO). A team of 3-4 doctors was present at the health centre and they administered the vaccine.
I was a little apprehensive and scared of the side effects of getting the vaccine. However, I didn’t care much because all of us (all the health workers) were getting the vaccine together. The MO also assured us that the vaccine will not have a negative impact on our health.
Q: What cautionary measures were taken during the vaccination process?
ASHA: Masks were compulsory and physical distancing was being maintained. We were asked to wait for 30 minutes after getting vaccinated and were also given drinking water frequently in short intervals.
Q: Were you told about whom you could go to in case you experienced any side effects?
ASHA: The MO had told us that after the vaccination we might get fever, headache, or nausea for 3 days. They also kept checking up on me and taking health-related updates via phone for three days after the vaccination.
Q: Have you informed your local community regarding COVID-19 vaccinations? Are they asking questions?
ASHA: Yes, I have been telling people in the community that they will start getting the vaccine soon. People are asking if I had any side effects after getting the vaccine. I am answering these questions and also motivating people to get vaccinated.
People with diabetes and blood pressure are asking if they will also get vaccinated. I informed them that the doctor will discuss their medical history before administering them the vaccine.