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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Rasikaran Mahotsav begins: Phone calls, reminders but vaccination low on Day 1

As compared to Saturday, when more than 26,800 vaccinations were reported, 9,400 fewer jabs were recorded Sunday at 17,417.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
April 12, 2021 1:59:17 am
ahmedabad, vaccination, gujarat coronavirus cases, gujarat covid-19 cases, gujarat news, 18-45 age group vaccination, gujarat free vaccine, india news, indian expressA vaccinator administers Covid-19 vaccine to a beneficiary at a primary school in Maninagar, Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

Despite personal reminders and phone calls to beneficiaries for the second dose, Ahmedabad reported lower vaccinations on Sunday, which was also the first day of the four-day ‘Rasikaran Mahotsav’ or vaccination festival. As compared to Saturday, when more than 26,800 vaccinations were reported, 9,400 fewer jabs were recorded Sunday at 17,417.

Overall, the state too reflected a similar trend — a decline from 2,34,272 first doses administered on April 10 to 1,87,151 on Sunday, and from 43,474 to 34,452 second doses in the corresponding period.

On Sunday, 5,469 fresh cases and 54 fatalities were reported across the state which took the total case count to 3,46,749 and toll to 4,813. Among the fresh cases, Ahmedabad reported 1,532 cases and 20 deaths on Sunday.

Notwithstanding special campaigns, vaccination in Muslim-dominated areas of the city remained low. Mudassar Vora, a 35-year-old brought his mother Sultana Munavar (60) for the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Makhtampura Urban Health Centre on Sunday. Over one-and-a-half months since the vaccination drive took off in the city, the senior citizen had to be convinced by her son to take the jab.

“She was sceptical and scared of taking the vaccine. I had to convince her and this is the reason it got delayed by all these days. Even today, she agreed due to rising Covid-19 cases in the area. There are at least five-six cases in our (housing) society,” Mudassar, resident of the Makhtampura ward and a banker who himself has been vaccinated as a frontline worker, said.

Another resident of Juhapura, Iqbalbhai Sheikh (58), who took the first dose of the vaccine Sunday came alone even when his wife and father were eligible for the vaccination. “They are scared. I, too, was but finally decided to take the jab. I have told them that I will take the vaccine first and then they, too, can get it done,” he said.

Referring to the low numbers in Muslim areas, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) Medical Officer of Health Dr Bhavin Solanki said, “We are trying to spread as much awareness as possible through special campaigns, but are not able to achieve the desired results.”

The Makhtampura Urban Health Centre staff revealed that though average per day vaccinations had increased from merely a dozen to around 50-60 since the surge in cases, it was still low as compared to other UHCs in nearby non-Muslim wards.

“For instance, in the neighbouring Jodhpur UHC, on an average 1,100-1,200 persons are vaccinated every day. Despite awareness campaigns, the vaccination rate has only reached 50-60 per day,” a senior staff member at the UHC, who did not wish to be identified, said.

A day ahead of the vaccination festival, the UHC had made personal calls to all the residents whose second dose of vaccination was pending. “We are reminding them that their second dose is due and they should visit the UHC and get it done. Also special campaigns in over a dozen residential societies have been undertaken where residents have been vaccinated. On days we have even crossed 1000 vaccinations on a day,” medical officer Dr Chetan Chaudhary at Thaltej UHC stated.

Dr Solanki said the initiative has been replicated across the UHCs in the wake of vaccination festival. Makhatmpura, along with surrounding Juhapura and Sarkhej areas from the South West zone, was among the two zone of the total seven that reported the lowest vaccination Sunday. Of the total 17,414 vaccinations, the zone reported only 1,759 vaccinations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared a ‘tika utsav’ or a vaccination drive would be observed between April 11 and 14 to control the virus from spreading.

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