BENGALURU: Although Bengaluru has been the Covid-19 hotspot right through the pandemic, the vaccination coverage for the 45+ age group has remained low, at 44.83%. This, despite this age group being the largest segment of those with comorbidities.
The state began carrying out vaccination for the 45-plus age group from April 1. Going by BBMP data, so far, of the targeted 25,60,826 population in this age group, 21,90,307 have taken the first dose. This records a coverage of 85.53%, which means that 3,70,519 (or 14.47%) of the people in this segment have not yet taken their first dose.
If the health department is aiming at covering the entire population with two doses of vaccination, then at least 100% should have been vaccinated with the first dose.
Of the 21,90,307 target population for the second dose in the 40-plus segment, 12,89,113 are eligible to take the second dose and complete vaccination, as their window for the second dose (84-day waiting period) has opened. Among these, 11,48,217 have taken the second dose, recording a coverage of 89%.
BBMP officials said it still amounts to coverage of 52.4% of the total target population in the 45-plus age segment.
They said the key is in covering the entire segment with the first dose at the earliest, so that delays in covering complete vaccination schedules are avoided, or at best minimised. While this age group is to still attain 100% coverage, there remains an issue of vaccine supplies. “Supplies are low for Karnataka. Just 50% of the vaccines come to Bengaluru, while the rest are sent to other districts. Basically, Bengaluru has seen a high Covid caseload, amounting to 75% of the entire state’s caseload. We could easily be carrying out 75,000-1,00,000 vaccinations per day in Bengaluru. But the target is not being achieved due to supply constraints,” BBMP Health Commissioner Randeep D said.
The highest vaccination coverage is in East and Yelahanka zones for the second dose. Dr Obul Reddy, consultant physician at a private hospital, said, “The government must make vaccination mandatory. For instance, parents must be vaccinated mandatorily before sending their children to school. Employees must be vaccinated if they are working in office.”
He said a major hindrance is because there is one vaccination centre in a 4km radius. The government must make sure it is reduced to one vaccination centre in 1km radius, he said.