September 9, 2021 12:43:24 am
SIX MONTHS after Panchkula began its vaccination drive on a war footing, the district this week claimed to have achieved 100 per cent inoculations of its target population, with around 3.85 lakh beneficiaries having received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine.
Panchkula became the third district of Haryana to complete 100 per cent vaccination of its target population with at least the first dose, after Gurugram and Ambala.
As per Dr Meenu Sasan, the district immunisation officer of Panchkula, “The total target, as per national guidelines in every district, was supposed to be 60 per cent of the total population. On Monday, the district not only achieved this target but surpassed it.”
While a total of 3.86 lakh beneficiaries were targeted to get the first dose, officials of the district said they had administered the Covid vaccine (one dose at least) to around 4 lakh people as of Wednesday.
The achievement though, has not been easy for the health department, said Dr Meenu. “We had to power through many issues which come with the responsibility to vaccinate all strata of people across a district.”
The doctors working on the ground not only continued with the inoculations in the face of vaccine shortages, but they also had to often dispel rumours of impotence at village level, climb mountains to reach inaccessible areas and motivate locals to participate in the inoculation drive.
“We went village-to-village, opened vaccination camps at sub-centre levels, went door-to-door in areas that showed lower participation, set up motivation camps in rural and slum areas, started a social media campaign to fight rumors of impotency, and deployed mobile vans,” said Dr Meenu.
Panchkula has fully vaccinated the residents of at least 150 villages of the district, Dr Meenu claimed. “We are glad to have achieved such high inoculation numbers in villages. Our on-ground teams are working day and night to ensure maximum people got the Covid vaccine shots,” she added.
A vaccination dip in Panchkula was witnessed as the second wave of the virus tapered off during the end of May-early June, with people thronging vaccine centres to get the jabs but doses drying up due to limited supply. As limited stocks trickled in, the district in early June was forced to completely shut online registration of vaccination centres for beneficiaries in the age groups of 18-44, as they focused on administering the jabs to those in rural areas and government departments.
The decision to focus on rural areas was proposed after the administration noticed a stark inequality in rural and urban populace in terms of registration of slots online. The district had then opted to jab people in rural areas after conducting rapid antigen tests. A looming vaccine shortage only compounded problems.
“Yes, we faced an acute shortage [of vaccines] for a while. But that was a long time ago. Now we have plenty of stock and are vaccinating people at a rapid pace,” confessed Dr Meenu.
With an average of 38 vaccination centres functional across the district, more than 4000 persons at present are being jabbed daily.
“We reached 100 per cent inoculation numbers because we expanded the number of our centres. All our health staff were put on vaccination duty as we faced a manpower crunch. We opened all dispensaries, CHCs and PHCs for vaccination. We even started mobile vans as our ‘vaccination on wheels’ programme. We reached out to different groups — such as lactating mothers, the sick and the elderly, who otherwise wouldn’t make it to our camps. We made designated spaces for beneficiaries who were specially-abled and for senior citizens. ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, block pradhans, RWAs as well as sarpanches were roped in to encourage people to come forward and get jabbed. We reached out to religious groups such as the Radha Swami Satsang which helped us immensely since they have a huge following. Each time our vaccination buses reached the Radha Swami Satsang, we have inoculated more than 1000 people there,” she says.
On July 12, the district held a special vaccination drive aimed at jabbing lactating mothers and pregnant women of the district on a priority basis before the possible third wave hitting. On teh same day, July 12, the district administered the vaccine to around 55,000 senior citizens in Panchkula and achieved 100 per cent target of jabbing senior citizens with at least dose one.
60% of target population completely vaccinated
As per officials, at least 1.75 lakh people of Panchkula have received both doses of the Covid vaccine, which roughly works out to around 64% of the district’s population. As many as 2.72 lakh beneficiaries are still due to get their second doses, data showed.
“Our main agenda now remains to vaccinate people with the second doses as well for complete protection. We have made lists and are calling people a day in advance before their vaccination becomes due. We have been targetting studentsin schools, colleges and have been administering the vaccines to beggars, homeless people on a priority basis,” added Dr Meenu.
The district also continues to vaccinate all those people who need to go abroad, at least 84 days before their travel date, with the second dose of Covishield vaccine.
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