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Fewer people turning up for second Covid vaccine dose in many Karnataka districts

This is because of the recent government’s direction extending the gap between the dosages from 28 days apart to 6-8 weeks.

Published: 04th April 2021 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th April 2021 06:56 AM   |  A+A-

Covid vaccine being administered to a man (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While the turnout of beneficiaries for the dose under phase-3 of the of vaccination drive for senior citizens and those with comorbidities aged between the age of 45-59 years, was good, the response for the second dose, which started from March 29, has been rather tepid in many districts.

This is because of the recent government’s direction extending the gap between the dosages from 28 days apart to 6-8 weeks. Also, there is lack of availability of vaccines in many places, causing hindrance to the drive, health officials pointed out. Hesitancy still persists amongst people, they added.

Till date over, 8,13,411 people in the 45-59 age group have been vaccinated for the first dose and 3,515 people have been administered the second dose. In the 60-plus age group, 21,03,247 people have been vaccinated in the state and 8,825 have got the second dosage.

While Bengaluru Urban has topped the chart in administering the second dose, with 2,455 senior citizens and 950 in the 45-59 age group with comorbidities being vaccinated, other ditricts like Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Ramanagara, Vijayapura, Yadgir and Chamarajnagar have recorded poor response with not even 150 people getting second dose.

In Kodagu district, the second dose has been given to 134 senior citizens and people between 45-59 years age group, so far. “Now with guidelines that Covishield should be taken after 6-8 weeks, many people are extending the gap between the two doses. However, some have come forward and taken it. Awareness needs to be created on the importance of the second dose, which we are doing,” said local health officials.

In Ramanagara district, only 10 senior citizens and six people aged between 45-60 years turned up for the second dose. “The turnout has been comparatively low for the second dose. However, we are spreading awareness in the district as it is important to take the second dose,” an official said.

Dr Deepak Balani, Chief of Medical Services at Sakra World Hospital said, “The availability of vaccine is also a problem. Just 2-3 days ago, we had to send back people who had come for the vaccination as we did not have the stock. The government is giving us limited stock which can be used only for two days and we have again get the stock from the cold chains. Sometimes, on government holidays, we cannot even get it. The supply chain is a problem, causing a delay in vaccination.

Other reasons we have observed is that people are still hesitant, especially after the news of 12 countries blocking Covishield. Many are also waiting for 6-8 weeks period. We are expecting everything to get in sync in the next two weeks and we will have a better turnout of of vulnerable groups.” A health official from Vijayapura, where only 57 recipients got the second dose, pointed to the low vaccine availability and lack of awareness about the need to take the second dose. Experts point out that it is important to take the second dose to increase the period of immunity and for the vaccine to be effective.



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