Despite the 75-day free vaccination campaign to mark 75 years of India’s independence, the precaution dose coverage in the State still remains low. Under the campaign — organised from July 15 to September 30 — a total of 67,30,089 doses were administered of which 56,72,890 were precaution doses.
The precaution dose coverage in the 18-59 years age group that stood at 8.8% on August 12 has nearly doubled to 16% as of September 30. In the senior citizens category, the coverage has marginally increased from 46% to 47% during the same period.
The Centre rolled out precaution dose administration for senior citizens across the country on January 10 and for those in the 18-59 age group on April 10.
As of September 30, the State had a target population of 74,90,579 in the senior citizens’ category and 3,32,40,671 in the 18-59 age group, due for the precaution dose. With the duration between two doses having been reduced from nine months to six months, the number of people eligible for the precaution dose has also gone up. Earlier, the third dose was free only for senior citizens in government hospitals. Besides, vaccines were not available in all private facilities.
Although the response in the initial few days of the 75 days campaign was good, it slowed down subsequently. During the period, the highest number of precaution doses was administered in Bengaluru Urban (inclusive of BBMP) at 5,96,048 followed by Mysuru at 4,80,276. Kodagu had the lowest precaution dose achievement during this campaign at 64,064 followed by Gadag at 83,572.
Although the campaign ended on September 30, sources said government hospitals will continue to administer free doses till further orders. As on Saturday, the State had an overall stock of 17.4 lakh doses.
17 districts above average
According to data from the Co-WIN portal shared by the State Health Department, the coverage in 17 districts is above the State average in both the senior citizens and 18-59 years age groups.
In the senior citizens’ category, while the highest coverage is in Ramanagaram where 77% of the target population has been covered, the lowest is in Tumakuru and Kalaburgi that have 29% coverage.
In Bengaluru Urban district, inclusive of BBMP, the coverage so far has been 41%. While Chitradurga, Mandya, Udupi, Kolar, Hassan and Ramanagara have a coverage of above 60%, Koppal and Ballari are inching towards 60%.
18-59 years group
Although the coverage in the 18-59 years age group has nearly doubled in the last one and half months, the average coverage in the State is still low at 16% as of September 30.
The coverage has been below the State average in 14 districts. While the lowest coverage is in Kalaburgi at 7%, Yadgir recorded the highest coverage at 36%. Besides, Dharwad, Vijayapura and Raichur are inching towards matching the State average. Bengaluru Urban has achieved a coverage of 12%.
Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), said people are not interested in getting the precaution dose even if it is offered free as COVID cases have come down drastically. “However, we are further intensifying information, education and communication activities and also continuing house-to-house vaccination,” she said.