The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), a Srinagar-based doctors’ body, on Friday claimed that over 80 percent healthcare workers in Kashmir have “avoided inoculation of COVID-19 vaccine”.
“More than 80% of the healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, in Kashmir are opting against COVID-19 vaccine,” DAK president and influenza expert Dr. Nisar-ul-Hassan, who works in the government-run Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, said.
Official figures said that out of 7,000 healthcare workers at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, and its associated hospitals, only 1,167 (16.67 percent) had received the vaccine as on February 9.
Dr. Hassan said, “5,833 workers [83.33%] have opted out of the vaccine.”
A major concern
Such a large percentage of medical personnel declining to take the vaccine was a major concern. “It is a troubling development, especially since healthcare workers are at the higher risk of contracting the virus and their sickness would mean disruption of the healthcare delivery system,” Dr. Hassan noted.
He warned that non-vaccinated staff have the potential to transmit the disease to patients, who are vulnerable to COVID-19 related complications and death. “Most frequent explanation for the hesitancy is mistrust and misinformation. Some simply want to wait as they are fearful of being first in line,” he stated.
He admitted that if healthcare workers were reluctant for the vaccine it would be a huge challenge to convince the general population to take the vaccine.
According to the official figures, Jammu and Kashmir has recorded 1.25 lakh virus-affected patients and saw 1,947 deaths, which included 722 in the Jammu division and 1,225 in the Kashmir division.
The administration has conducted 47.76 lakh tests so far.