Hyderabad: The city saw its biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive on Sunday organized by the Cyberabad police, the Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC), and Medicover.

The mega vaccination drive was held on Sunday from 8 a.m to 9 p.m at Hitex in Madhapur, Hyderabad Over 1,650 people, including nurses, doctors, volunteers, admin staff, and police, were involved in the vaccination drive which Dr. Gadala Srinivas Rao, the Telangana director of public health, called "the world's largest single-day vaccination drive".

On Sunday morning, by the time the vaccination drive was formally inaugurated, 11,000 people above 18 years had been vaccinated. "By morning, we had 36,000 registrations. By the end of the day, we will surpass 40,000 vaccinations," said Hari Krishna, the executive director of Medicover Group of Hospitals India.

There were 300 vaccination stations in three halls at Hitex with one hall exclusively reserved for senior citizens. All received jabs of Covaxin. Seven hundred nurses were pressed into service. A five-bed emergency facility, 10 ambulances, 300 admin staff of Medicover, and 150 volunteers from SCSC ensured smooth management. Nursing stations were set up for lactating mothers and an emergency ward with five beds was set up in each hall.

The vaccination drive was paperless, touchless, cashless, and contactless. There were no long queues and people got the jabs in just five to 10 minutes, said Krishna Yedula, the secretary-general of SCSC, adding that it was possible because of pre-registration and online payment. All people had to do was scan the QR code and get the vaccine.

Kickstarting the mega vaccination drive, Dr. Rao said COVID-19 will be under control and we will get back to the pre-second wave situation in just a few days. However, he added a word of caution and said that precautions that are in place must continue and there shouldn't be any laxity.

"We have inoculated 52 lakh people in Telangana so far. Our target is to vaccinate the state's 2.75 crore population. That means we need 5.5 crore jabs. We have over 1,000 vaccination centres across the state. In the coming days, we will be able to vaccinate 10 lakh people in a single day. If the private sector also joins in, we will be able to vaccinate 12 to 13 lakh people every day. We will be able to vaccinate the entire state in just 30 days," Dr. Rao said.

He further said that the vaccines will be beneficial in three ways: you have 90% protection against the virus; even if you contract the virus, it will be mild and hospitalization may not be required; and you will not spread the virus. "That is why we appeal to all to go and get vaccinated. Once we vaccinate 70 per cent of the population we can witness herd immunity," he added.

V.C Sajjanar, the Cyberabad commissioner of police, said people must get vaccinated irrespective of the number of COVID-9 cases. Describing the mega drive as the first-of-its-kind in the world, the police chief said that though the vaccination was set to begin from 8 a.m, people started arriving from 6 a.m. "We were not ready but we managed to vaccinate them and send them back at the earliest possible time. People were under the wrong impression that the stock might get over so they came earlier than their allotted time slot. This created a mild traffic jam for some time but the police managed the situation." Around 5,000 police were deployed to manage the vaccination drive, he added.

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