May 27, 2021 10:18:02 pm
Amid a shortage of vaccines in Panchkula, the district authorities have decided to refocus their attention and get the population living in rural areas and those living in slums inoculated on a priority basis.
District officials claimed that people living in rural belts and slums were at a greater risk of contracting the virus but often slipped under the vaccination radar as they were not tech-savvy and could not register themselves online, as required.
“For the past week, we have had to tweak our strategy a little, after we figured that online registrations was not being able to cover everyone in Panchkula. As soon as we opened the online registrations, the slots got booked in minutes. However, people living in villages and slums would often end up missing out from these bookings. So, now we have started giving vaccine vials to senior medical officers, and telling them to register everyone, even those in the age group of 18-44 years, on the spot during the drive through vaccination camps. This has helped increase vaccine coverage in villages and rural areas. We vaccinate everyone who turns up,” says Panchkula CMO Dr Jasjeet Kaur.
Panchkula in the past week has already vaccinated two Ashiana colonies of the district and is now moving towards inoculating people in the urban villages of Haripur, Buddanpur, Maheshpur, Indira Colony, and Rajiv Colony. “The slums are being covered on a priority basis with on spot registrations. Once the rural and underprivileged populace have got the jabs, we will shift our focus to jabbing people sector wise. Those from the sector being more tech savvy have already started getting the vaccine booking slots. They have better access and understanding. We will jab everyone, but for now we have prioritized our rural, slum population and workplaces. We have already administered jabs in several government offices and in labour areas. We need to vaccinate the underprivileged who move around the cities as well to completely contain the virus,” said Dr Kaur.
Officials in the district, meanwhile, said that they have been running low on vaccines and with no clarity on how and when their stocks are replenished, had decided to completely stop pre-registered jabs for beneficiaries in the 18 to 44 years age category since last Tuesday.
Till date, a total of 2.09 lakh vaccine doses have been given to Panchkula, including approximately 38000 doses for the 18-44 age group, 64000 doses for beneficiaries between 45-60 and as many as 77000 to those above the age of 60 years.
The district had held drive through vaccination camps on Friday and Saturday last week, which witnessed a massive response and put a strain on their vaccine stocks, leading authorities to shut inoculations for people in the 18+ age group. On Thursday, only 175 people in the 18-44 age group got vaccinated through walk-ins in slums.
“While we need to quickly vaccinate every one before the virus rises again, but the issue is that the supply of vaccines has been very limited. Vaccines are trickling in at the moment. We get some amount each day. We do not have that kind of stock where we can just open the site tomorrow for everyone and let however many come and get vaccinated. We are getting vaccine vials in small batches and are managing with whatever we have,” Dr Kaur said. A drive through vaccination camp has also been planned for Sunday.
She added that even in the vaccines being received there was a demarcation. “Like some shots are only for 45 plus people from the Government of India, some are exclusively meant for 18-44 people that the state government gives us. You cannot use one shot for the other. We also have to have separate sites for Covaxin and Covishield. Then some vaccines are only to be given for dose one, others for dose 2. We have to ensure the demarcated vaccine reaches the set site. It has become very complicated. Had we been told that we could use a batch of vaccine however and for whatever group, things would have been easier,” Kaur said.
On Friday, first and second doses of the vaccine will be administered only to beneficiaries above the age of 45.
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