BHUBANESWAR: If reverse migration was responsible for the astronomical surge in Odisha's Covid cases in all three waves, out-migration has emerged as a major stumbling block in achieving the vaccination coverage now.
The State has once again missed the deadline of achieving the full coverage of first dose vaccination by January 15. From the initial target of covering all eligible beneficiaries of above 18 years by December 31, it has now been extended till January 31.
As per the latest vaccine statistics, the State has so far inoculated 93% of the 3.25 crore age-appropriate population with at least a single dose and 71% have been double dose vaccinated.
While 3.02 crore 18 years plus people have got their first shot, 2.3 crore have been vaccinated with two doses till January 18. The precaution doses have been given to 2,66,592 people.
Odisha has been placed among the bottom 10 states in terms of double dose vaccinated population of 18 years and above.
The Union Health Ministry data indicated that three UTs have achieved 100% vaccination and states like Himachal Pradesh (99.5%, Goa (97%), Madhya Pradesh (93%), Gujarat (90%), Karnataka (82 %), Kerala (83%) and Andhra Pradesh (81%) have covered over 80% of their targeted population.
The vaccination drive that picked up in the first week of January following a surge in new cases has now slowed down. The number of vaccination centres and administration of doses has come down from 3,630 on January 10 to 2,696 on January 18 and 3.44 lakh to 1.93 lakh respectively.
Director of Family Welfare and nodal officer of Covid vaccination Dr Bijay Panigrahi said that a majority of the beneficiaries, who are yet to be covered are out of the State for work.
"Around 23 lakh people aged above 18 years have not got their first shot yet and over 10 lakh are due to out-migration. While some are still hesitant, critically ill people and those who have tested positive recently have not received the jab," he said.
Health department sources said the vaccination rate is low in five districts -- Cuttack, Gajapati, Sundargarh, Angul and Mayurbhanj. While Mayurbhanj is lagging in second dose vaccination, the coverage of first dose in the rest four district has been low.
"We have engaged 12 mobile vaccine vans in the blocks recording low vaccination coverage. Door to door campaign has also been intensified to check the left out," Dr Panigrahi said.
He observed that the migrated people might have taken the vaccine in their place of stay and the coverage is not updated here.
The State has, however, covered around 50% of the 15-17 age group with the first dose and is at par with the national average. So far over 11.8 lakh have taken the shots out of the targeted 23.65 lakh.