80-year-old doctor takes the jab in Karnataka
Despite increasing safety concerns of COVID-19 vaccine with regard to the elderly with serious underlying health conditions, especially in the wake of the deaths in Norway, an 80-year-old specialist in emergency medicine at St. Philomena’s Hospital took the jab on Sunday.
The doctor – K. Subbalakshmi – who is the hospital’s Casualty Medical Officer (CMO), was the first one to get vaccinated. She is the senior-most person in the State to get vaccinated so far.
“I wanted to be the first one to take the shot to boost the confidence in our young medical fraternity, who are the prioritised group for vaccination in the first phase,” she told The Hindu after her vaccination.
Stating that the medical fraternity has suffered a lot ever since the pandemic hit the country early last year, the doctor said, “We have reached the final stage of our battle against COVID-19. When the vaccine is offered, we should have faith and take it without any fear. It is for our own good.”
Dr. Subbalakshmi, who retired from the Department of Atomic Energy in 2000, joined St. Philomena’s in 2009. She has hypertension and hypothyroidism, apart from osteoporosis.
“I have undergone six surgeries, including three complex spinal procedures. Despite this, I took the jab to instil confidence in our youngsters. It has been hours since I got injected and I have not experienced any side-effects,” she said.
Hospital Medical Director Shankar Prasad, who also got vaccinated, said two more doctors – R.S. Kamat (pathologist) and Taranath Shetty (paediatric neurologist) – aged above 75 years also got the jab on Sunday.
“Initially, there was fear and the staff were concerned about the safety of the vaccine. But, we cleared their doubts and motivated them to get vaccinated. Of the total 700 targeted staff members, the plan was to cover 300 on Sunday. Of this, more than half were vaccinated. Some, who had allergies, were left out. We will do another round on Monday to cover the remaining staffers,” Dr. Prasad said.
“Although those above 50 and with co-morbidities among the general public are to be covered in the second phase, vaccination is open to all age groups and conditions among the healthcare workers,” he added.