Omicron impact: Queue for COVID-19 vaccine gets longer

The queue outside a BBMP health centre for COVID-19 vaccine, in Bengaluru on December 6, 2021.

The queue outside a BBMP health centre for COVID-19 vaccine, in Bengaluru on December 6, 2021.

The Omicron threat and the circulars from schools for mandatory vaccination of parents for facilitating their children attend physical classes has seen a sudden rise in vaccination in PHCs with people volunteering to get themselves inoculated with either first or second dose of vaccines.

There was a time when the PHCs were struggling to vaccinate at least 50 persons a day. In the last four days, the number in most PHCs in the city has crossed about 200 a day.

“If the fear of the new COVID-19 variant is one reason, another reason is about the fear of losing benefits, assuming that the government may bring in new rules making vaccination mandatory. The schools have started asking for vaccination certificates from parents. Such a rule may be expanded to other areas. In view of all these factors, the number of people seeking vaccination has seen a rise,” sources in the Health Department here said.

Recently, the Mysuru district administration had urged the people to get vaccinated for staying protected against the deadly virus, after about 2 lakh people skipped their second dose despite completing the 84-day gap.

Despite the vaccination sites in Mysuru district having sufficient doses of vaccines, there were not many takers for availing the jabs after the gravity of the pandemic waned and the cases dropped sharply. The vaccine hesitancy became apparent, especially in Mysuru city where over one lakh people have skipped their second dose till recently. This became a big worry for the authorities who used all possible means to persuade 18 years and above to get the jabs.

People refused to take vaccines when the health workers went to their doorsteps for expanding the vaccination coverage amidst the threat of a third wave.

A government medical officer said, “Certainly, there has been an improvement in vaccination in the last three to four days. People are calling up and making enquiries on the availability of vaccines. Also, the people now have the choice in vaccines which was not the case earlier.”

There has been a marginal rise in the administration of the first dose even as those skipping their second doses are coming for the shots. This was not the case until 15 days ago, as those coming for the first dose were very few or almost nil, he said.

“The Omicron scare is one of the strong reasons besides the stricter measures on vaccination amidst the fresh threat, for sudden rise in immunisation. The curbs on the entry of unvaccinated people to certain places could further increase coverage, helping the authorities reach their targets,” said the officer heading an urban PHC here.

Also, the enquiries for booster doses have also seen a rise with the vaccinated persons visiting the PHCs and seeking details from the healthcare staff on whether the booster doses are available for them.

More mobile vaccination camps have been pressed into service across Mysuru to improve coverage.

‘Needs to pick up pace’

DHO K.S. Prasad told The Hindu that 25,000 persons were vaccinated on Monday, a rise by about 5,000, as an average of 20,000 were getting vaccinated daily. “The vaccination still needs to pick up pace as we have the target of reaching 100 per cent by December-end,” he added. Out of 24 lakh people, 17 lakh persons have so far got their second dose, the DHO said.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 2:39:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/omicron-scare-curbs-over-new-variant-peps-up-vaccination/article37870817.ece