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Mumbai: BMC to counsel senior citizens to attain 100% immunisation rate

Around two lakh senior citizens above 60 years haven’t taken a single shot of the Covid-19 vaccine in the city
By Rupsa Chakraborty, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 07, 2021 12:17 AM IST

Around two lakh senior citizens above 60 years haven’t taken a single shot of the Covid-19 vaccine in the city. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to contact and counsel them to attain a 100% immunisation rate among senior citizens who are considered the most vulnerable group to the Covid-19 infection.

Last year, the civic body conducted a door-to-door survey under the campaign—‘My Family, My Responsibility’. According to data compiled during the survey, there are around 11.50 lakh senior citizens residing in Mumbai of which 9.50 lakh have taken the first jab dose, while 4.50 lakh has been administered both doses so far. This indicates that around two lakh individuals haven’t taken the vaccine yet.

Public health experts said this section of the elderly is still reluctant to take the jabs because they doubt the vaccine’s efficiency rate.

“We have decided to track down all these senior citizens who have not taken a single shot yet. We would disseminate the details at the Covid war rooms who will follow up with their respective residents from their wards,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC. “If anyone shows hesitancy to get the shot, we would also counsel them,” she added.

According to public health experts, a certain section of society is reluctant to take the shot.

A survey commissioned by the Central government found out that four in 10 unvaccinated adults above the age of 70 were hesitant to take the shot against the vaccine. The study conducted over the phone with 4,000-plus participants, also found that 57% of the unvaccinated in the 70-plus age group were concerned with the safety or efficacy of the vaccine and 29% thought they were too old to receive the vaccine.

Improper information circulating on social media often creates doubts among senior citizens. “Most senior citizens are confined to their homes due to Covid-19. So, they are addicted to social media and believe everything they read online. As a result, they refuse even if their family members insist they get the jab. But to attain a 100% immunisation rate among the elderly, it is essential to get each one of them vaccinated,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.

Data shows below 1% of beneficiaries have developed any adverse effect to the vaccine. Data provided by BMC shows that only 2.66% of beneficiaries who have taken the first shot have contracted Covid-19. While only 0.01% of the individuals with both doses have been infected with Covid-19.

Since the start of the pandemic, doctors have stated that senior citizens who generally have underlying health issues are most susceptible to Covid-19 infection. As per BMC, as of July 5, a total of 4,295 senior citizens between the age group of 60-69 years have succumbed to the infection, the highest mortality rate to be recorded in any other age group.

“We don’t know how the third wave will unfold. In the second wave, young adults got infected. So, it is essential to complete the vaccination of the senior citizens before we enter the third wave. This will help in controlling the chain of transmission,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant general physician at Bombay Hospital.

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