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COVAXIN scare: Fear, apprehension behind low vaccination turnout in state: Govt

01:51 AM Jan 21, 2021 | Sanjay Jog

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday admitted that there has been a low turnout for vaccination due to fear factor and apprehension about Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. There has been a deserted look at the vaccination centres in Mumbai and other cities while in rural areas, the beneficiaries are thronging the vaccination centres.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that health workers feel that first someone else should take a vaccine then they will take and therefore a lot of people are not turning out for vaccination. “Yesterday, the state met 54 per cent of the vaccine target that is not the best but not unsatisfactory either. The Co-WIN app is malfunctioning. The government is informing, educating, communicating and counseling over hesitancy,” he said.

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On Wednesday at 267 centres, as many as 18,166 health workers were vaccinated which was 68 per cent. Since January 16, 51,660 health workers have been vaccinated. On Saturday, the vaccination rate was 65 per cent.

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“There is a mentality among the health workers that first you get vaccinated and then I will get inoculated. There being counselled to overcome the fear factor,” said Tope.

Further, the scepticism about the vaccine and the confusion created about the Covaxin is also the reason for the reason behind the low turnout.

Besides, the low turnout was because health workers work in shifts and they have cited difficulties in visiting vaccination centres during working hours or even later. The Centre has asked the state to conduct vaccination four days a week, i.e., on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Due to continuing technical glitches, health workers are not getting messages in time which is resulting in low turnout.

“The app is running slowly, which is causing some problems. Names of beneficiaries are repeated. It's natural for people to get a little confused because of all this. This has been brought to the Centre’s notice and errors will be removed,’’ said Tope.

In the first phase of vaccination, health workers, doctors and nurses will be vaccinated. In the first phase, the target is to vaccinate 1.25 lakh in 15 to 20 days. The second dose should be taken 28 days after the first dose of the vaccine. However, if the vaccination schedule collapses in the first phase, the next programme is likely to be disrupted.

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