1.6 million Covid jabs given, Karnataka sees highest turnout
India vaccinated 1.6 million health care workers since coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination drive was launched in the country on January 16 till Sunday, said the Union health ministry .
Karnataka tops the list so far with maximum number of vaccinations at 191,443, followed by Odisha (152,371) and Andhra Pradesh (147,030).
Close to 30,000 vaccination sessions have been conducted in the country so far at about 3,000 plus sites.
“India took only 6 days to roll out 1 million vaccine doses. This count is higher for countries like USA and the UK. The UK took 18 days whereas USA took 10 days to reach the 1 million mark,” said Union health ministry in a statement issued on Sunday.
There are still an estimated 8.4 million health care workers remaining to be vaccinated across the country, and the government is making efforts to scale up by increasing vaccination sites in next few weeks.
The initial plan was to ramp the facility to add at least 2,000 more vaccination sites across the country, making it about 5,000 sites, in about two weeks from the launch day.
Dr VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, had said during the launch, “It is starting with about 3,000, but the vaccination sessions will be scaled up to about 5,000 in next fortnight or so.”
The Centre had advised states to conduct Covid-19 vaccinations for at least four days in a week, and states, after due deliberation, had come up with an individual vaccination plan according to their local requirements, infrastructure and human resources availability. Different states are following a different vaccination schedule that ranges from six to two days in a week, depending on local conditions and needs.
Initially, there was a low turnout of health care workers at vaccination centres, which both the Centre and state governments attributed to vaccine hesitancy among the medical professionals because of spread of a lot of misinformation regarding Covid-19 vaccines permitted for use in India.
India’s drugs regulator has granted approval for use in India to two Covid-19 vaccines. Covaxin, which is an indigenous vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech International Limited, and Covishield, a vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII), and developed by Oxford University and AstroZeneca, have received restricted emergency use authorisation from the national drugs regulator on January 3. While all states have been given Covishield, about 12 states have so far been given Covaxin.
The Centre plans to increase the number of states that will introduce Covaxin in days to come. The seven other states that would start doing so from Monday onwards are Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal.
Government has been making serious efforts to dispel concerns regarding the vaccines, for which it last week also launched a mass digital awareness campaign. As part of the campaign, the Union health ministry has also been publicising feedback from senior doctors who took the shot against the viral disease, and were doing fine.
“One of the reasons why vaccinations have picked up is because a lot of health care workers have got confidence on seeing how there senior were doing fine after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine shot. It helps to see your seniors and peers doing fine after receiving the jab,” said a senior health ministry official, requesting not to be identified.
“The states were also asked to engage more effectively with the target population so that their concerns are addressed. The efforts seem to have borne fruit as the numbers are picking up with each passing day. India also reached the one-million mark in under a week,” the official said.
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