As one of the largest vaccination drives in the world begins in India, I am indeed fortunate to be one of the first healthcare professionals to have received the vaccination against COVID-19. I must confess that I was a bit nervous as I drove to Cooper Hospital to take the shot. This was probably the most awaited and significant moment that medical professionals of my generation will witness in their lifetime.

As I stood patiently in a queue at Cooper Hospital with a hundred other equally anxious health workers, my mind was swirling with questions and thoughts regarding the safety of the vaccine and precautions taken at the vaccination camp. Which vaccine is this? Is it safe for me? Will there be any side effects? Are there any cautions and care protocols in case of emergencies? Will I be briefed on them and when? Are they using disposable syringes? And many, many more…

After a long wait, we were taken inside the vaccination camp which was guarded by policemen. Hospital staff including professors, nurses and interns were efficiently stage-managing the entire process. Seating arrangements were made for the vaccine recipients' comfort. I felt a warm gush as we were handed the vaccination slips from one of the many registration counters.

There were a total of 5 vaccination counters and the queue moved quickly. A lot of my nerves were calmed by the sight of a clean and hygienic camp space manned by sets of doctors, nurses and other support staff. There was an adequate ICU setup to manage emergencies if any. Arrows marked on the floors guided the vaccine recipients to the respective counters.

As I reached the vaccination counter and my turn arrived, I was informed about the administration of the COVISHIELD  vaccine and a fresh syringe was opened. The prick took just about a couple of seconds and was painless. I was then guided to the observation area where I waited for 30 mins before I left from what will remain a milestone event to me for decades to come.

As I drove back home, my mind was at peace. My heart was filled with gratitude for the health care attendants at the camp that kept a check on all vaccine recipients' health conditions with a smile on their face.

It's the morning after the vaccine's administration and I feel no pain, no heaviness in my arm, no vomiting or aches anywhere. All I feel is an added surge of positivity and hope with a belief that we will soon see an end of this pandemic as we continue to follow the three W's - wear masks, watch our distance and wash our hands.

By Dr. Anupa Dixit, Lab Director, Suburban Diagnostics

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