Chennai Corporation sets one month deadline to vaccinate everyone

Special teams deployed to visit households and persuade unwilling residents to get COVID-19 shots; number of doses administered in city will touch 50 lakh soon

Published - September 20, 2021 01:42 am IST - CHENNAI

Staying protected:  Residents waiting for their turn during the Corporation’s mega vaccination camp on Sunday.

Staying protected: Residents waiting for their turn during the Corporation’s mega vaccination camp on Sunday.

Having set a deadline of vaccinating all residents above 18 in one month, the Greater Chennai Corporation has started sending teams to households to persuade residents unwilling to get their shot.

At least 1,000 Corporation workers have hit the streets; visiting households to identify unvaccinated residents. The teams will collect details of the unwilling residents and take them for vaccination camps in the next few weeks. The number of doses administered in the city is set to touch 50 lakh this week.

During the inspection by Chief Secretary V. Irai Anbu and Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi at the mega vaccination camps in various parts of the city on Sunday, residents stressed the need to persuade those unwilling to get the vaccine in order to prevent a third wave.

Suresh Shanbogue, a representative of the 5th Trust Cross Street Residents’ Welfare Association, Mandaveli, said: “There is some reluctance or fear amongst people who are below the poverty line. The government must make vaccination compulsory for those who travel, visit public places, offices, restaurants, religious places, gatherings and Tasmac shops. A door-to-door vaccination administration program is a must, and counselling should be held.”

Geetha Ganesh, secretary of the Velachery AGS Colony Residents’ Welfare Association, said 3% to 4% of residents in their area were not vaccinated. “A few people had issues when actor Vivekh died the next day after receiving the vaccine, but they overcame it and understood the importance of getting vaccinated during the second wave. We have had numerous camps in our area and all of them were received well,” she said.

Coverage in slums

In many of the 1,600 camp sites organised by the Corporation on Sunday, a number of residents from slums were mobilised by civic workers to be vaccinated.

A few months ago, many slums had even resisted, preventing civic officials from even entering habitations for vaccination camps.

More than 18 lakh residents live in slums in various parts of the city. The Corporation has not compiled a list of unvaccinated residents in the slums. Targeted vaccination of slums started on August 14, and the Corporation has vaccinated 81,572 residents so far.

Of the 46.73 lakh doses administered in the city till Saturday, 35.16 lakh were Covishield and 11.57 lakh were Covaxin. On Sunday, more than 2 lakh residents visited the mega vaccination camps at 1,600 locations of the city. Most camps were crowded but some registered low footfalls.

Corporation officials brought residents to such camps, sending teams to fetch residents from their households. Many, who were waiting for the second dose of Covaxin, got their shots on Sunday, owing to the supply of 1.2 lakh doses of Covaxin.

According to Corporation officials, at least 75% vaccination coverage has to be achieved in a short period of time to prevent a third wave of COVID-19.

An official of the ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology said the strategy of persuading hesitant residents would improve safety during the pandemic and prevent a third wave. “The success of the initiative will depend on the supply of vaccine doses and awareness among residents,” the official said.

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