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Covid vaccine coverage hits a record low of 58% in district

The district recorded the lowest turnout for Covid-19 vaccination at 58% on Saturday — almost a week after the vaccine launch
By Archana Mishra, Gurugram
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2021 11:37 PM IST

The district recorded the lowest turnout for Covid-19 vaccination at 58% on Saturday — almost a week after the vaccine launch. As many as 3,055 front-line health care workers took the jab as against the target of inoculating 5,230 workers, as per the district health department data.

Despite vaccination being held at as many as 86 session sites, the coverage stood at 58% — far lower than Friday’s coverage rate of 91%.

The plunge in vaccination comes a day after 56-year-old health care worker suffered a sudden death on Friday after taking the jab on January 16. Lack of motivation in government health staff, reluctance among doctors and staff of small clinics and distance to the vaccination site, also contributed to the low footfall on Saturday, said health officials and private doctors.

At least 2,987 health care staff took the Covishield jab, of the 4,925 workers targeted for the day. The response for Covaxin reached the lowest turnout of 22%, with 68 people out of 305, taking the jab at four sites. From January 16, this has been sharpest decline in Covaxin inoculation as the coverage in the last four drives stood at almost 33%. To allay apprehensions, members of Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday took the Covaxin shot.

Till now, over 13,823 healthcare workers in the district have taken the Covid vaccine jab. Since the first vaccination drive on January 16 when the two vaccines were launched, the coverage rate has been continuously fluctuating. With 101% coverage on the first day, which was originally 60% and had to be extended considering lower footfall, the numbers decreased to almost 59% in the second drive held on January 18. It grew to almost 79% on January 21, and further to 91% on January 22.

Citing the reason for Saturday’s poor coverage, Dr MP Singh, district immunisation officer, said, “Clearly, there has been no issues with the Co-WIN platform. Maximum sites were planned for Saturday, which required mobilisation of the health care staff. Likely, staff from nursing homes and clinics also did not turn up. For Monday, we are planning to further mobilise and motivate our teams.”

Since Friday onwards staff from nursing homes and small clinics have been added to the vaccine beneficiary list. Some doctors have cited distance to the vaccination a major issue. A physician in Old Gurugram preferring anonymity, said, “Although I received an SMS regarding the vaccination on Saturday but the designated site was Medeor Hospital, Manesar which is far off from place. Therefore, I dropped the visit.”

Several other doctors have reported the similar issues with the IMA, according to Dr Ajay Gupta, vice president, IMA-Gurugram.

“Distance to the vaccination sites has been creating challenges for many health staff. It is easy for the staff to take the vaccine if the session site is within the hospital. For others walk-in has been not so easy as the session sites have list of limited beneficiaries. The district health department has assured that the issue will be resolved as any registered staff can freely walk in to the nearby vaccination site without much hassle,” said Gupta.

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