A private hospital in Kolkata has partnered with some NGOs working with autistic adults to help them avoid crowds, long waiting time, and anxiety while getting vaccinated for covid 19.
The vaccination drive was organised last week by Apollo Gleneagles Hospital for autistic adults in the age group 19-35. The family members of each individual opting to come to the hospital were given a two-hour window within which the vaccine would be administered.
The families were glad that for most people the entire process was completed in under an hour. While the government of West Bengal has started the vaccination drive for those in the given age group, it was not very easy for the families of special needs individuals to avail it.
Most were concerned about the crowding at the government allotted vaccination centres. Not only about the crowd overwhelming their autistic kin but also about their inability to maintain social distancing. Family members were also worried that the unpredictable waiting time would negatively affect them, triggering anxiety.
Amid such fears, the hospital’s drive came as a blessing. The families were happy to see the sensitivity with which the hospital staff dealt with individuals who were hesitant to get the shot or displayed other behavioural issues. A separate area of the hospital was prepared with four billing counters to streamline the drive, under the supervision of the vice president of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital Joy Basu.
While talking to the media, a psychiatrist at the hospital Dr Jai Ranjan Ram said these individuals would be more vulnerable to the infection because of their inability to comprehend social distancing. He suggested that all vaccination centres allot one day in the week for vaccinating people with disabilities as a way to save a lot of hassle to those individuals and their families. Indrani Basu, the founder of Autism Society West Bengal, talked about the difficulties faced by families of individuals with autism who had to be hospitalized after contracting covid 19. She pointed out that isolating these individuals could make things difficult for them, and medical workers were not equipped to deal with the more demanding individuals.