Bihar scales up Covid-19 vaccination, 3 mega camps before Chhath Puja
Beginning Monday, Bihar will hold three mega vaccination camps to administer Covid-19 jabs to as many adults as possible before Chhath Puja, a major Hindu festival celebrated in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, in which devotees worship the Sun God.
The other two mega camps are scheduled for October 28 and November 7, said executive director of the State Health Society, Bihar, Sanjay Kumar Singh, also the nodal officer for vaccination in the state.
The four-day Chhath Puja begins with “Nahaye Khaye” on November 8 this year.
The state health department doesn’t want to slacken either its vaccination or testing tempo during the festival months of October and November. Bihar has set a target to vaccinate most of its 7.34 crore adult target population by December 31.
Anticipating the fact that people would throng puja pandals during Dussehra, celebrated after a gap of two years after the pandemic in 2020, the state health department converted it into an opportunity to vaccinate those who flocked to puja pandals.
A reasonable 17% (1,44,876 doses) of the state’s 854,979 Covid-19 shots between October 11 and 15 were administered at puja pandals. The state health department had tasked district magistrates and civil surgeons to set up special vaccination camps at major puja pandals in their respective districts.
With 9,321 jabs, Muzaffarpur topped the districts in terms of doses administered at puja pandals during the five-day period. East Champaran (9,055 doses) and Gopalganj (8,272) came second and third, respectively. State capital Patna was sixth, having administered 7,530 doses, which was 10.55% of the 71,323 doses administered in the district during that period.
Sheikhpura topped in terms of coverage percentage, having administered 52.66% of its 2,772 doses at puja pandals during the five-day period. Bhojpur came next, with 43.05% of the district’s 18,895 doses administered at pandals. East Champaran’s performance was good both in terms of number of vaccination doses administered to beneficiaries and coverage percentage (37.45%) at puja pandals during Dussehra.
Jamui, with 1,070 doses administered at puja pandals against the district’s 12,402 shots to beneficiaries during Dussehra, Banka (1,007/12,056 doses), Jehanabad (944/13,914), Kishanganj (923/6,012) and Sheohar (179/3,396) were among the five most laggard districts.
Bihar reported 495 new Covid-19 cases during the Chhath festival on November 20 last year, when the state’s tally of active cases was 5,603.
The situation is better this year. The state did not report any new Covid-19 case during the last 24 hours on Saturday. The count of active cases had also come down to 43, as per the state Covid-19 bulletin released on Saturday.
“We want to keep up the tempo and vaccinate the maximum number of the target population while also simultaneously testing as many people as possible to ward off the threat of Covid-19. Though the situation is better, we do not want to lower our guard. We will have three mega vaccination camps before Chhath and will try to vaccinate as many people as possible before the festival,” said Singh.
As on Saturday, the state’s first dose vaccination achievement was 65% while that of Patna was 76%. Its second dose achievement against first dose is 30% against Patna’s 60%.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar had on Saturday directed officials to test those coming from outside the state either by road or train during the festive season.