Exhilarating, says first serving bureaucrat to get Covaxin

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23

The national COVID-19 vaccine drive is not yet open for broader bureaucracy but IAS officer SK Panda, serving as deputy director, administration at AIIMS, New Delhi, got lucky to get inoculated in the phase one, currently underway.

A 1997 IAS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre,  Subhasis Panda took the first dose of COVAXIN at AIIMS, New Delhi, at 9.30 am on Saturday and was back to day’s routine feeling normal and fit like on any other day.

Panda got the vaccine for qualifying as a frontline health worker in his capacity as deputy director administration at AIIMS, which is at the forefront of the national response against COVID.

By all probability, the first serving bureaucrat to get the COVID shot today, Panda told The Tribune that he felt exhilarated after taking the shot.

“The experience was absolutely uneventful in terms of adverse effects. I didn’t even experience anything mild after taking the shot. It was exhilarating to get inoculated and contribute to the national fight against COVID,” Panda said.

Asked if he had apprehensions before taking the shot, the joint secretary rank officer who has previously served in the ministries or food, civil supplies and petroleum and natural gas, said, “I had no apprehensions whatsoever. I was always clear that I have to take the vaccine. There was no dilemma. The vaccines have passed the regulatory rigours and are safe.”

Panda added that bureaucrats serving in health systems are also being covered in phase one of the inoculation drive along side health workers.

Panda has been at AIIMS for three years and urged everyone registered for the shot in phase one to accept the vaccine and build immunity against the virus.

“All of past year we ate and drank anything anyone said would build our immunity against Covid. Why not take the vaccine? It’s no silver bullet against the virus but it sure offers protection from disease,” said Panda whose brother Debasis Panda is also an IAS officer of 1987 batch from Uttar Pradesh Cadre and is currently posted as Secretary to government of India in the Department of Financial Services.

Panda said people must be conscious of a scenario of potential resurgence of COVID as being witnessed in the European countries.

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