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Covid vaccination: 50% turnout in 2 days, experts say pace to pick up next week

Frontline workers waiting for their turn for the first dose of Covishield vaccine during the vaccination drive  (ANI)Premium
Frontline workers waiting for their turn for the first dose of Covishield vaccine during the vaccination drive (ANI)

B L Sherwal, MD, Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital, said such low turnout is normal since people are voluntarily taking the jabs Dr. S Lakshmanan, Director, National Health Mission, Assam, said the rhythm of any vaccination drive picks up in 10 to 15 days

In Delhi, a total of 4,319 healthcare workers, i.e. 53.3% of those who are registered for the COVID-19 vaccination drive on day one turned up to get the jab, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Sunday.

Some people did not turn up for coronavirus vaccination at the last moment, he said, adding that the government cannot ask anyone to compulsorily to get vaccinated.

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He also said that the number of vaccination centres in Delhi will be increased from 81 to 175 soon.

Jain noted that a similar trend was observed across the country, with around 50% of those registered getting the jabs on the first day. This is despite the fact that India recorded the highest number of inoculation on Day one, far greater than the US, the UK or France.

India was aiming to vaccinate more than 300,000 people on Saturday, but only 191,181 people were inoculated on the first day, official data shows.

Many health workers, who were due to receive a vaccine on Saturday, did not get the message via an app developed by the government called Co-Win, officials in at least four states said.

Medical Director of Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital B L Sherwal said "There is a little bit of apprehension (about the vaccine). Also, people in India adopt a 'wait and watch' approach in important matters, be it purchasing a new car or an appliance. People consider the experiences of others before taking a call. " only 45 people came to get the jabs in the hospital on Saturday.

"There is a need for creating more awareness and building confidence among people. No major vaccine-related side effects were reported on Saturday, which is going to encourage others to take the shots," he said.

Sherwal said 53 per cent turnout should be considered "normal". "Since people are voluntarily taking the jabs, many times they skip it if there is some important work," he said.

The rhythm of any vaccination drive picks up in 10 to 15 days, said Dr. S Lakshmanan, National Health Mission Director of Assam. Assam had expected 6,500 beneficiaries to be vaccinated on the first day of the inoculation drive on Saturday, but 3,528 of the targeted people turned up for the vaccination process.

"Many things had to be put in place and the system is evolving," Dr Lakshmanan told PTI adding, "Many of the beneficiaries did not turn up while many others, whose names were not in the list for the first day, came to the selected sites."

"Currently, we are reaching out to people, targeted to receive the vaccine, over phone. We are confident that they will come to the vaccination sites in the next few days," he said.

All efforts are being made to allay apprehension, if any, from the minds of people and prominent doctors coming forward to take the vaccine on the first day will go a long way in inspiring the beneficiaries, Dr Lakshmanan told PTI.

"It took a lot of effort for 20 years to eradicate polio. There was resistance. Similar efforts will be needed in case of COVID-19 immunization campaign," Sherwal concluded.

(With inputs from agencies)




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