Updated: June 13, 2021 1:38:33 am
One week since Gujarat opened up Covid-19 vaccination for 18-44 age group across all districts and municipal corporations on June 4, the pace of inoculation for this age group has been faster compared to other age groups, especially the 45-plus category—vaccination for whom started months earlier and were free of cost at government centres.
Some districts in the state administered a tenth of the doses, in the 18-44 year group in a week, compared to the total doses these districts administered in the past four-and-half months to healthcare workers, frontline workers and general population above 45 years of age, indicating a speedier acceptance and uptake by the younger population.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Saturday crossed the mark of administering two crore vaccine doses with Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), which administered a total of 23.47 lakh doses, leading the way. The state recorded 490 new Covid-19 cases and six deaths due to the infection.
Gujarat started vaccinating the 18-44 years’ population in 10 jurisdictions — seven municipal corporations of the total eight and three districts of the total 33 – from May 1, launching overnight after an announcement by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
Of the 10 jurisdictions, Junagadh Municipal Corporation, and Botad and Surendranagar districts did not open for vaccination of 18-44 group in May owing to fewer active case load and lesser daily surge, compared to other districts.
However, districts which began vaccination for 18-44 on June 4, have managed to cover better ground with the younger population in seven days than they could in the earlier groups covered between January 16 and June 3.
Surendranagar District Collector K Rajesh told The Indian Express that five per cent of the eight lakh in the 18-44 year group in this district have been covered since June 4.
As per CoWIN dashboard, upto June 3, Surendranagar had administered a total of 2.52 lakh doses to health workers, frontline workers and the 45 plus of age which is little less than 50 per cent of the population in these segments.
In the 18-44 group, the district has administered over 15 per cent of doses in seven days than what the district had managed to administer between January 16 and June 3. In the group of above 45 years population, the district has managed to administer a dose to at least 48 percent of the 4.74 lakh target population.
According to Rajesh, “Even within the 18-44 group, we are seeing the maximum demand in the 18-35 years’ age group…In Chotila, for example, we see the weakest acceptance of vaccines. This trend was first seen in the group aged above 45 years and we are now seeing a similar trend with the 18-44 years’ group as well. As a result we reduced our vaccination site (for 18-44) in this area from initial three sites, to now one. Instead, in places such as Wadhwan, Surendanagar city and Dhrangadhra city, where we are seeing a high demand, we are setting up more sites…”.
Rajesh on Friday tweeted, “We are seeing very less interest in 45 + age group. Appealing all the youth to bring elders in family with you…”
Botad, reported a similar hesitancy in the older group, especially those “aged 45-59 years,” says District Collector Vishal Gupta.
In seven days, over 12,200 doses in the 18-44 years age group have been administered vis-a-vis the total 98,790 doses (including first and second) the district had managed between January 16 and June 3 in its remaining population.
“Slots are getting fully booked daily (for 18-44 group)…if daily allotments (of vaccine doses per site, which currently stands at 200 doses) are increased, we can achieve increased coverage in this group… but I think that is a limitation at the supply side at the moment. Same numbers we were not able to achieve with the 45-plus group even with a walk-in facility…Our issue is with the first dose in the 45 plus age group because those who take the first dose are easily converted to take the second dose,” says Gupta.
The district has roughly 5.1 lakh vaccine-eligible population, of which approximately 3.45 lakh are in the 18-44 years’ age group, with a daily allocation of 2,000 doses for the district’s 18-44 years’ population. The district has managed to administer a total of 1.19 lakh doses, including 31,000-odd second doses, as per the CoWIN dashboard.
Botad has begun rotating centres as and when demand weakens at some centres, says Gupta.
Junagadh civic body with approximately 3.2 lakh population saw around 96,000 doses administered in the remaining populace until June 3 and since June 4 covered 12,000 thus covering over 12 per cent of what it covered since January in the remaining populace.
Vadodara city, which started vaccinating 18-44 group since May 1, meanwhile has covered 57.81 per cent of the target population in this category. In comparison, the coverage of the population in the age group of 45 to 60, which commenced from March, has been 68.20 per cent of the target population in this category for the first dose and nearly 18 per cent for the second dose.
Across the state, 1.55 crore first doses have been administered while only 45 lakh are fully immunised. A total of 6.17 lakh doses have been administered to health workers, of which 72 per cent have taken the second doses. Another 13.24 lakh frontline workers have received vaccine doses, with half of them fully inoculated. One-third of the 99.41 lakh who are above 45 years of age and have received vaccine doses, have been fully inoculated.
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