COVID-19 vaccination: Karnataka shifts focus from daily to monthly target

A file photo of a queue outside a vaccination centre in Hubballi, Karnataka.

A file photo of a queue outside a vaccination centre in Hubballi, Karnataka.

Karnataka's rate of vaccination has been uneven, with numbers high on ‘Lasika Utsav’ days (Wednesdays) and lower than the targeted five lakh on other days. After administering 10,50,756 doses on Wednesday (September 29), a mere 1,82,209 doses were administered on Thursday (September 30).

However, with over 78% of the 4.97 crore adult population having received at least one dose, State health officials said the focus is now on the monthly target of 1.4 crore rather than daily numbers.

From a total of 3,36,208 doses administered in January when the average daily vaccination was 21,013 doses, Karnataka administered 1,37,79,708 doses in September, the highest so far. The average daily vaccination touched 4,75,162 doses in September.

Apart from weekly ‘Lasika Utsavs’, September also saw a mega vaccination drive on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday (September 17). Over 31 lakh doses were administered during the drive, the second highest in the country after Bihar.

The initial target was to administer 10 lakh doses every Wednesday. However, except on the first Wednesday (September 1) when 12,04,402 doses were administered and last Wednesday (September 29) when nearly 11 lakh doses were administered, the State was not able to achieve more than half the target. On rest of the days, the doses administered have been less than three lakh per day.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar told The Hindu that the focus is now on the monthly vaccination target rather than daily numbers.

“The adult population of Karnataka is about 4.9 crore. Till now, we have administered 5.62 crore doses in total. This means we need to administer another 4.2 crore doses to completely vaccinate the adult population. To achieve our target of completing vaccination by December-end, we need to achieve 1.4 crore doses per month, which is what we are focussing on,” he said. “If we maintain the current pace of vaccination over the next three months, we will comfortably reach the target.”

Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission, said it was not possible to take up vaccination on a mission mode on a daily basis. “We involve staff and services of all departments for the special drives, which cannot be done on a daily basis,” she explained.

Asserting that the focus is now on districts that have recorded low vaccination rates, the official said, “All those who were keen on getting vaccinated have been covered. Now, the remaining population is the one that needs to be motivated to get vaccinated. That is why some districts are lagging behind.”

Pointing out that the department is chalking out a new strategy to ramp up vaccination in such districts, she said vaccinators are now visiting houses of people to persuade them to get vaccinated. “We are also taking up a door-to-door survey to find out from people on why they are not interested in getting vaccinated, and how many persons in a household are yet to take a vaccine. This will help us in better micro-planning,” she added.

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 7:26:55 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-vaccination-karnataka-shifts-focus-from-daily-to-monthly-target/article36770312.ece