Sangrur, Barnala miss vax target, doctors blame stigma lack of awareness for low turnout

Sangrur had a target to inoculate 13,000 people while Barnala aimed to vaccinate 4,500 beneficiaries; sources say fear of vaccine’s side effects and wheat harvest season also adding to the low response
A man getting a vaccine shot in Sangrur on Tuesday. (HT Photo)
A man getting a vaccine shot in Sangrur on Tuesday. (HT Photo)
Published on Apr 21, 2021 01:43 AM IST
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ByAvtar Singh, Sangrur

The health departments of Sangrur and Barnala missed their daily target of Covid-19 vaccination drive due to poor response from the people.

The vaccination drive is currently covering the population aged above 45 years, along with health workers and frontline workers. Sangrur had a target to inoculate 13,000 people while Barnala aimed to vaccinate 4,500 beneficiaries.

As per the data obtained from Sangrur health department, 2,576 people, including health workers, frontline workers and those above 45 years, had got the shots on April 19. In Barnala, 1,808 people were given Covishield and Covaxin jabs.

The data showed that a total of 70,288 people have been vaccinated, including 65,179 with first dose and 5,109 with second dose, in Sangrur district. However, 51,671 people got the first dose and 1,712 second dose in the 45-plus group. In Barnala, a total of 33,101 people received shots, 30,657 of whom got their first dose and 2,444 the second.

Sources said the fear of vaccine’s side effects and wheat harvest season led to the low response in the vaccination drive. However, health department officials claimed that stigma and lack of awareness became the reasons for their target being missed.

“Some countries such as Germany suspended a particular vaccine. There are some reports of fever and body pain after the vaccination. Such news triggered fear among people about vaccines. If people are willing to get the jabs, it is a welcome step. But, nobody can force them,” said Manjit Singh Gharachon, senior vice-president of BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan).

Swaranjit Singh, an activist who has retired from the health department, said, “It is the duty of the government to educate people about the side effects of the vaccine and its positive aspects. However, people from all walks of life are in dilemma. The government is spending a lot of money on vaccination drives, but it should also invest on health infrastructure. I am also willing to get inoculated.”

Sangrur assistant civil surgeon Dr Jagmohan Singh admitted that the drive was not achieving its daily target.

He said, “There is a stigma surrounding vaccines in our society. The Indian government is even sending the same vaccines to other countries. The vaccine is safe, and people should come forward to receive it.”

Barnala civil surgeon Dr Harinderjit Singh Garg, said “Teams of health department are approaching people and we are also organising camps for vaccination. Lack of awareness is the major cause due to which people are not showing interest. However, the numbers are increasing daily as our teams are educating and motivating people for vaccination.”

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021