BENGALURU: Despite Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s assertion that the State Government will inoculate five lakh people every day from September 1, the daily health bulletins show that the number hasn’t crossed the mark on any day. The exception is Wednesdays when the special vaccination drive is taken up, targeting administration of 10 lakh doses.
But on these days too, the target has not been achieved. Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had announced on August 30 that the state will conduct special vaccination drives every Wednesday to vaccinate 10 lakh people, and five lakh on the other days.
On September 1, a Wednesday, the state conducted its special drive inoculating 12,04,402 people, surpassing the target of administering 10 lakh doses. However, on other days, even the 5 lakh target could not be achieved. On September 2, over 2,47,409 doses were administered, followed by 2,56,919 doses on September 3, 2,75,793 doses on September 4 and 1,61,756 vaccinations on September 5. A high of 4,41,743 doses were administered on September 6.
Again, on September 8 (Wednesday), though the numbers were high at 5,08,633, the 10 lakh target was not achieved. From September 9 to 16, between 44,634 and 2,94,885 doses were administered. The highest vaccination coverage in the month was reported on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday on September 17 with over 31 lakh doses being administered, making Karnataka the first in the country.
However, on subsequent days, between September 18-21 the pace dropped and the state recorded between 59,000-2.6 lakh doses being administered. On September 22, Wednesday, it picked up again to 7,82,106 doses after which, from September 23-28, the numbers varied between 26,000 and 2.26 lakh doses per day. However, on September 29, the coverage touched 10,50,756 doses as of 10.30 pm, crossing the 10 lakh mark for the second time in the month. The highest was reported at Chikkaballapur with 93% coverage, followed by Gadag at 94%. Among the districts with poor coverage, Chamarajanagar scored low at only 26% coverage while BBMP came second with 27% coverage.
The least coverage was reported on the non-special drive days. On September 26, the state carried out only 26,539 vaccinations. And on September 10, just 44,364 inoculations were carried out. Again, on September 16 only 59,432 vaccine doses were given and on September 12, 65,512 doses were administered.
When asked about the state not being able to achieve five lakh target, Nation Health Mission (NHM) Director Dr Arundathi Chandrashekar said, “We have been trying to achieve the target, but it hasn’t been happening. Some of the districts are not able to achieve their daily targets as people are still hesitant to take the vaccinations, while others have gone out of town. We are now starting door-to-door survey to get feedback from people on why they do not want to take vaccination and how many in a household are yet to take it. This will help us in planning out a new strategy to get them all inoculated.”
She also pointed out that during special vaccination drives on Wednesdays, the state is been able to conduct a high number of vaccinations due to mass camps set up in many areas in every district while on other days it is only at the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and hospitals.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr K Sudhakar said, “ Vaccination is a dynamic process. Numbers vary by the day and by the week, depending on supply and demand dynamics. What is important is the overall numbers. We had set a stiff target of 1.5 crore for September. We are hopeful of reaching the target. We have administered 5.6 crore doses so far and we need to administer 4.2 crore doses more to achieve our target of completing vaccination by December. This amounts to 4.66 lakh doses per day. The supply of vaccines has picked up significantly and there is no shortage.”