In Ghaziabad, officials chalk out measures to achieve monthly vaccination target
Ghaziabad: At the end of the first week of March for the vaccination against the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease for senior citizens, the Ghaziabad district saw coverage of only about 7% of its target for March assigned to it by the Uttar Pradesh government. Taking note of the sluggish pace, health department officials said they have chalked out measures to increase coverage.
According to official figures, the district covered 6,749 beneficiaries out of its target of 93,480 under senior citizen category from March 1 to March 7, which was seen through at 31 private hospitals and 25 government healthcare facilities. According to directions by the state government, private hospitals are to administer the shots for a minimum of four days in a week while government healthcare facilities are to do the same three days per week, barring the district hospital, which undertakes the drive six days a week.
“Given the slowness in the vaccination process, we are trying to increase participation of private hospitals and have communicated to them to increase the daily vaccination coverage, as well as procure more stock. At government healthcare facilities, we have a total of 42 teams deployed while eight more will be roped in soon,” said Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer, Ghaziabad.
Going by the state government’s directions, the district was to vaccinate about 3,000 beneficiaries per day this month. The average of 965 beneficiaries vaccinated per day in March so far in Ghaziabad pales in comparison.
“We have now planned that the private sector will ensure coverage of about 50,000 beneficiaries while the government sector will cater to about 40,000 of the monthly target in the district,” Dr Gupta added.
However, officials said that private hospitals could procure only about 10,000 doses in the first week of March.
As per government rules, private hospitals can charge a maximum of ₹250 for the shots while vaccination at government centres is free.
In the private sector, the vaccine is administered through hospitals empanelled under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY) and hospitals empanelled under the health insurance scheme(s) of the state government.
“To augment the engagement of the private sector, we have written to the UP government seeking special permission to rope in four more private hospitals which are not covered under the two categories of empanelled hospitals. Once these hospitals begin administering the jabs, we will have better vaccination coverage which can help meet the target,” Dr Vishram Singh, district immunisation officer, said adding that consent for administering the doses has been received from 35 private hospitals in Ghaziabad so far of which 31 have been allowed.
The vaccination drive is almost over for healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs) who received their first doses and are now in the process of getting a second dose.
According to official records, till March 7, a total of 19,269 out of the listed 25,003 HCWs have received their first dose while 14,480 out of these have taken their second dose as well. For the FLW category, a total of 10,592 out of the listed 18,897 have been given their jab and 747 out of these have been given their second dose so far, while more are expected to take it in coming rounds.
The Ghaziabad chapter of the Indian Medical Association said the city still lags behind in terms of awareness.
“People are still apprehensive of getting themselves vaccinated, besides the fact that the staff of some of the government departments did not take the jab. Just like the health department created awareness about wearing masks, adherence of social distancing, etc., during the initial months of the pandemic, they must now go to the ground level to spread awareness about the vaccines,” said Dr Ashish Agarwal, president of IMA – Ghaziabad.
“Private hospitals are trying their best to increase coverage and the IMA is ready to help,” he added.