45+ age group showing vaccine hesitancy, says GB Nagar health dept
Officials of the Gautam Budh Nagar health department have said there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy, or a reluctance to get vaccinated, among the 45-plus age group, and cited it as one of the reasons why the inoculation pace for this group has slowed down since the beginning of June.
The vaccinations for the 45+ age group had started in April, and till June 14, only 215,014 persons of the 904,057 vaccinated in the district were in the 45-60 age group. This roughly works out to about 23.78% of total vaccinations, .district immunisation officer Dr Neeraj Tyagi said, adding that vaccinations in this age group has slowed down since the start of June.
“As slots for vaccinations on Co-WIN portal open on Sundays at 10am, at least 40% of slots for the 45+ age group go vacant while the 18-45 slots are filled up within hours. Moreover, even for the 45+ age group slots that are booked, almost 20% don’t turn up for the shot,” said Dr Tyagi.
He further said, “The trend is being seen in urban as well as rural centres and there is no distinction between the two demographies.”
On Tuesday evening, over 20 Covid vaccination centres on the Co-WIN portal showed open slots for the 45+ age group for June 15-17. These included private as well as government centres.
District magistrate Suhas LY said while the health department volunteers are carrying out awareness drives in urban as well as rural areas, efforts need to be made by citizens as well.
“The district administration is aware of the vaccination hesitancy among the 45+ age group and the health department is trying to address this by motivating and encouraging people to get the jab and also by holding free vaccination camps. Efforts also need to be made by society at large to educate the misinformed and help create awareness regarding vaccination” said Suhas.
Dr NK Sharma, president of IMA, Noida chapter, said there are still some rumours and misinformation about vaccinations doing the rounds in the district.
“Since April this year (when vaccination of 45+ age group was started), doctors in Gautam Budh Nagar have been getting all sorts of queries from this age group regarding vaccination. They wanted to know whether the vaccines were safe or check the veracity of rumours or misinformation. It has been seen that there is a lot of fear among the people aged above 45 years. As doctors, we make it a point to inform and educate people and create awareness among them to get vaccinated,” said Sharma.