Absentee beneficiaries dampen vaccine drive
Low turnout continued to mar the Covid-19 vaccination drive for the third consecutive day on Tuesday in the state owing to concerns over safety of the vaccine and apprehensions of side effects among beneficiaries.
As per figures received from officials of the state chapter of National Health Mission (NHM) at 8.00pm, 2,735 people took the vaccine in 48 centres across the state on Tuesday against a target of 4,800. “The number may go up slightly as updates are still underway,” remarked an official in the know of things.
State NHM director Ravi Shankar Shukla admitted there was no trend to indicate that more people were turning up at vaccine centres, but that he was hopeful of a better turnout in the coming days. “Absenteeism was there today (Tuesday) and the turnout can be estimated to be anything between 60 per cent to 65 per cent of the overall target,” he said.
On Saturday, 3,200 out of 4,800 registered beneficiaries took the jab. The number fell by about 200 on Monday. Tuesday’s drop was more. The only encouraging sign was that there were no major cases of adverse event following immunization (AEFI) as yet.
An official of Sadar hospital said that there was a need for a fresh impetus to build confidence. “I am surprised to witness that even some doctors are pulling out at the last moment. If they tend to do this, how can we encourage others to get vaccinated,” he said, adding that after tackling the pandemic through 2020, it’s time for people to come forward and take the vaccine.
The Jharkhand government is administering Covishield doses to over 1.25 lakh identified beneficiaries in the first phase, a majority of who comprise health and cleanliness workers.
Across the state, as many as 99.89 lakh people have been selected under different priority categories for administration of the vaccine. Vaccination is being conducted four days a week —Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday—at earmarked vaccination centres.