Covid: District jab backlog shows in patient data
At several private hospitals in Calcutta, Covid patients from districts outnumber those from the city. Most of the patients from districts, hospital officials said, are unvaccinated.
Public health experts said the comparative figures showed that the vaccination drive in districts needed to be intensified.
The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences had 11 Covid patients on Wednesday, of whom nine were from districts of Bengal. Peerless Hospital had 16 Covid patients, of whom 11 were from districts.
Three Covid patients were admitted to Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals on Tuesday, of whom two are from districts.
"Of the 11 Covid patients being treated at our hospital, four are admitted in the critical care unit. None of the patients in the critical care unit is vaccinated. Three patients in the general Covid ward, all from districts, are unvaccinated,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, of which the RN Tagore hospital is the flagship unit.
Hooghly, East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas are among the districts from where Covid patients are coming to the Mukundapur hospital.
At Peerless Hospital, none of the 11 patients from districts has received a single dose of a Covid vaccine, said Sudipta Mitra, the chief executive. The patients are from East Midnapore, Bankura, Nadia and South 24-Parganas.
Officials of several hospitals said the flow of patients from districts was the reason why the total patient count was not declining over the past few weeks.
“Since July, more Covid patients from districts have been coming to our hospital than patients from the city. Over the last couple of weeks, the share of the patients from Calcutta has gone down even more. But that has been made up by a further increase in the number of patients from districts,” Mitra said.
Public health experts stressed the need to step up the vaccination drive in the districts.
“The drive should be expedited in the districts to prevent a possible third wave. The population density in urban areas is higher and so chances of spread of Covid are high there. But the districts should not be ignored either,” said public health expert Abhijit Chowdhury.
“The Centre has to send more vaccines to Bengal. Otherwise, it is impossible to keep the balance between the urban and rural vaccination programmes.”
Health department officials said they had asked north Bengal districts to intensify vaccination and testing.
“We are keeping a close watch on the numbers of new Covid cases. There has been an increase in numbers in north Bengal districts. So, we have asked them to inten-sify the vaccination programme,” said a health department official.