December 23, 2020 3:03:50 am
Ahmedabad district and corporation officials have registered more than seven lakh people across Ahmedabad city and rural areas during a month-long survey to identify the high-risk population for vaccination against Covid-19. As many as 704 vaccinators, including 324 from rural areas, have been also identified during the survey, officials said.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation officials, engaged from the first week of November to collect data on the highest priority group for the first round of vaccination, have identified 52,000 health-care workers and 40,000 other essential workers, including police and defence personnel and others. The civic body has also identified four lakh in the high-risk population — people above 50 years and residents with long-term-care facilities and underlying medical conditions — ahead of the vaccine roll out.
According to officials, the drive has been chequered due to myths related to some coronavirus vaccines, trials for which are in the final stage. An AMC health officer, who did not wish to be identified, said field surveyors out to register eligible populations for the vaccine priority list have also faced some resistance.
“This is similar to the resistance we faced during measles rubella vaccination (in 2018) when people would tell us it (the vaccine) contains pork. These myths only go away with time. No amount of information, education communication (IEC) works. Even now, some people are refusing to register themselves citing adverse effects. Some have cited the case of Haryana Health Minister (Anil Vij) who tested positive days after taking trial Covid-19 vaccine shot, while a few others said they wanted to wait and see how the vaccine reacts,” the officer said.
Another senior health official with AMC said resistance was noted in some pockets and specific areas such as Vatva, Danilimda and Behrampura. “We are trying our best to convince the people but cannot do much if they refuse to give details. We will undertake a second round of data collection as well,” the official said.
The vaccination drive, officials said, is planned across nearly 300 spots by an estimated 380 vaccinators in Ahmedabad city. Ahmedabad city has nearly 60 lakh population.
District Collector Sandip Sagale said 324 vaccinators have been identified for administering the vaccine in rural parts, while 7,435 health workers have been shortlisted under the first priority group from these areas. More than 18,000 defence and police personnel from Ahmedabad rural, he said, have been identified who will get the vaccine in the second phase.
During the door-to-door survey undertaken with the help election rolls data in rural parts, Sagale said, a total of 3,22,009 people, aged more than 50 years, have been identified along with 6,507 people, aged below 50 but with serious comorbid conditions. Data collection for the last category is on, he added.
A district health official said data on high-risk groups in Dholera and Dhandhuka blocks remain to be collected. Rural Ahmedabad has an estimated 15-16 lakh population.
Survey finds low Covid prevalence rate in Gujarat
A survey by media platform Gaon Connection, titled ‘The Rural Report 3: Covid-19 Vaccine and Rural India’, released Tuesday, has categorised Gujarat as a state with ‘low Covid-19 prevalence rate’, along with Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, based on official central health ministry data. More than 2,200 rural households formed a part of the sample of the low Covid-19 prevalence states.
The survey undertaken to assess vaccine awareness had a total sample size of 6,040 rural households across 16 states and one Union Territory. Of these, 389 rural households from Gujarat were a part of the survey’s sample under the west zone analysis. Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh were the two other states in the west zone. The three states combined had a sample size of 1,186 households.
The rapid survey, conducted face-to-face between December 1 and 10, looked at what rural India thought about the Covid-19 vaccine, if rural citizens would pay Rs 1,000 for vaccinating one family member, if they have to choose, whom in their family will they vaccinate first, how aware the rural citizens were about the updates on the Covid-19 vaccine, how much did they trust the vaccine candidates, and other aspects.
A number of participants, surveyed in the west zone, said they would give ‘self’ (29.8 per cent) priority to be vaccinated followed by ‘old parents’ (28 per cent), which was in contrast to the east, north-east and south zones where respondents gave priority to old parents. In the north zone, respondents preferred children to be given vaccine on priority.
Respondents were also asked if they were aware of the various companies trying to come out with a Covid-19 vaccine during the survey. A zone-wise analysis revealed the awareness was comparatively higher in the north zone (85%) while it was the lowest in west zone (61% said they are aware).
Among the low Covid-19 prevalence states’ rural households surveyed, nearly 82 per cent, that is 755 households, said they are ready to pay up to Rs 500 to avail the two doses of vaccine and another 15 per cent (or 142 households) across the five states said they would pay up to Rs 1,000 for the same. This was in contrast to high and medium Covid-19 prevalence states, where fewer people wanted to pay for the vaccine doses.
Overall, the rapid survey found among its 6,000-odd rural household respondents, over 32 per cent expressed a concern that the vaccine may have an adverse health impact, while 25 per cent admitted to concerns of black-marketing. Another 22 per cent said their concern was that the common people will not be in the priority list during vaccine distribution.
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