The turnout of healthcare and frontline workers and eligible senior citizens for the precautionary shot against Covid continues to be low, officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) have said.
These three categories became eligible for the precautionary or booster shot on January 10. The gap between the second and third shot has to be nine months or 39 weeks, according to the Centre’s guideline.
Civic officials suspect a number of people from these groups have been infected by the coronavirus during the current surge and cannot take the precautionary or booster shot now.
Officials think the rush for the booster dose would begin about three months later.
Many eligible people who had Covid-like symptoms but did not undergo a test are delaying their booster dose.
“We had expected a far better turnout of people who are above 60. Even the turnout of healthcare workers and frontline workers have not been satisfactory so far,” said an official of the KMC.
“One reason why the number of precautionary doses being administered is low is that many healthcare and frontline workers have caught the virus during the current surge, which began in late December. They will now have to wait for three months to get their precautionary dose, according to the Centre’s guidelines.”
Officials said KMC telecallers, while calling up Covid patients to monitor their health, have found that a large number of infected people are aged 60 or more.
Several doctors of the KMC and other healthcare workers like nurses, vaccinators, phlebotomists and field-level health workers have been down with Covid.
Besides doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers across hospitals in the city were also infected. Some are still isolated at home and yet to join work.
Till 6pm on Sunday, only 70,965 persons had taken their precautionary doses in Kolkata. The state-wide figure is 5,71,265.
“We are administering only about 3,000 precautionary doses each day,” said an official of the KMC.
The KMC runs about 155 Covid vaccination centres.
Many hospitals in the city, too, have witnessed a low turnout of people aged 60 or more.
The three units of AMRI Hospitals have administered precautionary doses to only about 250 senior citizens since January 10. “Many are down with Covid. We had been in talks with housing complexes to vaccinate the elderly but the response has not been very good,” said an official of AMRI.
At Peerless Hospital, only 278 precautionary doses were administered till Sunday afternoon. “But we are getting queries from a lot of elderly people. They want to come and take the precautionary dose once they become eligible,” said an official of Peerless.