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Coronavirus | After initial hiccups, rising confidence for COVID-19 vaccination in Bihar

A medic administers the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a frontline worker, at Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna, on January 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

After days of lukewarm response from frontline health workers for COVID-19 vaccine jabs in Bihar, the turnout rose sharply on Thursday as the State Health Department started registration for the second phase of the vaccination drive.

When the first phase of the drive began on January 16, 62% health workers and doctors turned up. On January 18, the figure dipped to 51.2%, and it fell further on January 19 as only 50.1% registered participants showed up at the 301 centres set up across the State. Out of the total 74,900 frontline health workers who were scheduled to take the vaccine, only 47,402 had turned up on the first three days in the first phase of the drive in the State.

On January 21, however, the figure rose and 54.6% of the registered beneficiaries turned up to get the shot across the State. The State Health Department also started registration of frontline workers on the Co-WIN digital platform for the second phase of the vaccination drive. “As many as 39,152 beneficiaries of various departments were registered by January 21 for the vaccination in the second phase,” said Patna-based civil surgeon Dr. Vibha Kumari Singh.

The average turnout for vaccination across the four days was nearly 55%, said State health officials.

Also read: The Hindu Explains | How is India preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

But the names of around 800 healthcare workers, including some doctors in Patna, reportedly disappeared from the Co-WIN portal. “Some of our senior doctors had expressed willingness to take the vaccine shot and set an example to motivate younger doctors, nursing staff, paramedical staff and sanitation workers to take the vaccine, but the names of all the faculty members and college staff have gone missing from the portal,” Dr. Binod Kumar Singh, Superintendent, Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH), said. He has also raised the issue with the district civil surgeon, who has asked the NMCH to “resend the list of these people for verification and reload [it] on the portal”.

Changes have been made in the software to allow the Health Department to take new beneficiaries in place of the absentees. “Training will be given for the new software and once the new method is implemented successfully, the turnout will increase,” Manoj Kumar, Special Secretary, State Health Department, said. The new method is expected to begin from Saturday, he added. Till January 21, only 63,032 healthcare workers had been vaccinated in the State in the first phase, with 61,694 persons receiving Covishield and 1,238 receiving Covaxin shots out of 4.7 lakh registered beneficiaries.

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Leaders of different political parties have also come forward to take the vaccine. “MPs, MLAs and all leaders of our party are ready to get vaccinated,” said State Bharatiya Janata Party chief Sanjay Jaiswal. Opposition Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders too said that they would not hesitate to take the vaccine. “Public representatives should come forward to build confidence among people about vaccine shots,” said State Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha. However, there’s no guideline issued yet for the vaccination of any public representative above 50 years in the second phase.

“People are still apprehensive about COVID-19 vaccine with reports of some deaths in other countries, but it is safe and there is no reason to cast doubt on its efficacy,” Dr. Anil Kumar told The Hindu over phone.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:52:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-after-initial-hiccups-rising-confidence-for-covid-19-vaccination-in-bihar/article33637590.ece

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