CHANDIGARH: The response to the COVID-19 vaccination drive in Punjab remains below the desired level with only 38 per cent of the targeted health workers getting the shot on Thursday.
According to a Health Department data, only 4,852 health workers got themselves vaccinated out of the target of 12,872 on Thursday.
During previous sessions of the drive on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 1,327, 1,992, 2,249 and 2,003 health workers came me forward for vaccination, respectively.
Punjab is among the states that received lukewarm response to the vaccination drive on the day of its roll out.
The health officials had attributed hesitancy among government sector health workers as one of the reasons for it.
During Thursday's vaccination drive at 134 sites in Punjab, Ferozepur, Barnala, Fatehgarh Sahibs and Fazilka districts turned out to be poor performers with the coverage ranging from seven to 11 per cent, as per the data.
Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur saw maximum health workers getting the shots.
Meanwhile, the state Health Department has started reaching out to health workers who have doubts over the safety of the vaccine.
"We are telling health workers that there is no need to worry and they should come forward and get themselves vaccinated," said an official.
Doctors are getting themselves vaccinated to boost the confidence of health workers who are still hesitant to get the shots, said the official.
Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu too instructed civil surgeons to increase the number of sites as well as beneficiaries in order to accelerate the vaccination drive across the state.
While presiding over a review meeting, the health minister said the state government has already increased the vaccination sites from 59 to 134 so as to ensure maximum coverage of health workers.
In a statement here, Sidhu said a feature of "allot beneficiary" has been added in the vaccinator module.
The feature has been added to facilitate maximum utilisation of the staff deployed at the session sites so that they can cater to the optimal number of beneficiaries per session.
He said earlier, only such additional beneficiaries could be added whose names already existed in the database generated by the CoWIN portal for a particular session but now there is a provision to add new beneficiaries at the sites as well for inclusion in the ongoing session.
Sidhu said the state had received 2.04 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine on January 12 and 1.96 lakh doses on January 19 while a total of 12,467 beneficiaries have been vaccinated so far.