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Telangana has surplus doses but vaccine hesitancy persists

Lack of awareness on the importance of taking a vaccine and confusion about its availability cause a low turnout

Published: 06th July 2021 09:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th July 2021 09:42 AM   |  A+A-

People wait in the observation area after taking a Covid vaccine at a special vaccination drive at HICC in Hyderabad. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Despite allocating over three lakh slots in the last three days, Telangana managed to vaccinate just two lakh or less beneficiaries per day. An analysis of a report posted on the ‘under 45’ website, which gives updates on availability of CoWIN slots via Telegram channels, shows that nearly 6,76,140 slots were made available for booking between July 1 and July 3.

Of these, 6,28,133 were for first doses and 48,007 for second doses. This is only a part of the total slots released as the State has also carried out vaccinations in rural PHCs through walk-in registrations, effectively adding around 60,000 more slots each day, at the rate of 100 slots per 600 rural PHCs.

However, the turnout has only been 5,27,785 in the last three days as per the CoWIN dashboard. Volunteers engaged creating awareness on in Covid-19 vaccine note that both factors — the lack of awareness on the importance of taking a vaccine and confusion about its availability — are resulting in a lower turnout.

“In many places, only three to four people are turning up per day. A vial of vaccine can’t be opened for just that many people and so they are being turned away,” informed an official from Adilabad.
While the State received around 28 lakh vaccine doses from the Centre for July, private hospitals procured seven to eight lakh vaccines for the month.

Experts note that the State must increase its health communication initiatives to encourage the rural population to take the vaccine, even as the danger of a third wave continues to loom, with a significant rural population still not having natural post infection antibodies.

“The State government must sensitise the private medical practitioners to send across the message of importance of vaccines. In rural areas, PHCs alone can’t handle the load of sensitising people, which is where private practitioners comes into play,” said Dr BN Reddy, Secretary, Telangana State IMA Chapter.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) is planning to adopt tribal villages in each district to conduct vaccination drives across the country, under which Telangana IMA recommended Bhadrachalam and Kothagudem for the special drive.



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