Disparity in vaccine coverage in Karnataka worries experts

Published on Aug 28, 2021 12:17 AM IST

The expert added that the districts with the lowest vaccination coverage are in the underdeveloped northern part of the state.

According to the government, so far 3.95 crore people have been vaccinated in the state so far. Out of this, around 3 crore people have received the first dose, while 95 lakh people received the second dose of the vaccination. (PTI)
According to the government, so far 3.95 crore people have been vaccinated in the state so far. Out of this, around 3 crore people have received the first dose, while 95 lakh people received the second dose of the vaccination. (PTI)
By, Bengaluru

Despite a considerable reduction in the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Karnataka, experts are worried about the disparity in the distribution of vaccines, pointing out that in 20 of the 30 districts, the vaccination is below the state average while six districts reported less than 50% vaccination (single or double).

According to the government, so far 3.95 crore people have been vaccinated in the state so far. Out of this, around 3 crore people have received the first dose, while 95 lakh people received the second dose of the vaccination.

“In a recent policy change, the Karnataka government had decentralised Covid management, with district government getting more powers. But, in areas where the state government should be active, such as distribution of vaccine, there is a problem,” said a member of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), who didn’t want to be named.

The expert added that the districts with the lowest vaccination coverage are in the underdeveloped northern part of the state. “Bengaluru city (BBMP and Bengaluru urban) has the highest number. Naturally, the capital with the highest population will get preference, but the state of North Karnataka is concerning, especially many districts share the border with Maharashtra,” he added.

Responding to the concern, health commissioner Trilok Chandra said that measures provide additional vaccine allocations to districts with a lower vaccination rate.

Meanwhile, according to data from the state health and family welfare department, Karnataka has recorded 14,421 Covid-19 infections and 126 deaths among people who have had taken the vaccine, out of which, 11,881 infections and 109 deaths were reported among those who took the first dose, and 2,540 infections and 17 deaths were reported among the fully vaccinated.

Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar said since the number of cases is only a small percentage of the total number of vaccinated, the cases are not alarming. “As per the information, we have less than 100 of these patients required hospitalization. So, vaccination is effective,” he said.

For the number of the death reported due to reinfection after vaccination, a senior health department officials said that the co-morbidities of the patients are being investigated. “Most of the deaths have taken place in Mysuru and Hassan. Genome sequencing is being conducted in these districts,” the official added.

Meanwhile, in Bengaluru city, which has reported the highest vaccination rate in the state, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has announced that it would allow most commercial establishments in the city to operate, conditional to compliance with Covid appropriate protocols.

Gaurav Gupta, the chief commissioner of the BBMP, said that the commercial establishments must ensure the 100% vaccination of their staff at their own cost. He also said that the first dose of the vaccine must be administered to all employees by August 31.

To ensure the compliance of all shops, industries, hotels, and offices, the state government has also asked the employees in these places to keep the proof of their vaccination at the workplace and produce them “as and when required.” It has also warned of legal actions under the Epidemic Disease Act in case of any violations of compliance.

BBMP’s decision to resume shops in the city came a day after state health minister K Sudhakar said that more than 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered so far in Bengaluru. “Bengaluru crossed one crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday. Big applause to all those involved in this Largest Vaccination Drive,” he tweeted on Thursday.

Karnataka reported 1,614 fresh Covid cases on Friday and 17 more deaths, taking the tally of total infections to 2,944,764 and death toll to 37,248 respectively.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Arun Dev is an Assistant Editor with the Karnataka bureau of Hindustan Times. A journalist for over 10 years, he has written extensively on crime and politics.

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