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Lukewarm response in Maharashtra on the first day of booster dose

🔴 Only fully vaccinated beneficiaries who had received their second vaccine dose by April 10, 2021, are eligible to take the booster shot, which the Centre has termed the 'precautionary dose'.

Written by Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai |
Updated: January 11, 2022 7:21:13 am
A frontline worker takes the booster vaccine dose at Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar on Monday. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

On the first-day of the booster dose drive, a total of 49,307 beneficiaries, including 10,698 in Mumbai, got inoculated across the state out of the 9.3 lakh individuals who are eligible for a booster shot in Maharashtra. Though the response was lukewarm on the first day, officials said they are hopeful that within the next 3-4 days, the footfall of beneficiaries will increase.

Only fully vaccinated beneficiaries who had received their second vaccine dose by April 10, 2021, are eligible to take the booster shot, which the Centre has termed the ‘precautionary dose’. Due to the nine-month criteria, only a tiny fraction of frontline and healthcare workers qualify for the booster shot.

In total, nearly 9.3 lakh people in Maharashtra were eligible to take shots on Monday. Following directives from the Centre, only senior citizens with comorbidities, and not all above 60 years, have been included for the booster.

The vaccination centres had created separate rows with individual vaccinators to inoculate the beneficiaries category-wise.

On Monday, a dentist couple — Dr Alpa Doshai and Dr Hiren Doshai — took their third dose from the Dahisar jumbo centre. Speaking to The Indian Express, they said that due to their medical profession, they are most vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 as they have to operate on patients’ mouths. For the same reason, when the pandemic started, for three months, the state government had closed down dental clinics.

“Some dental procedures may lead to aerosol generation, which can increase the transmission risk to dental providers through direct inhalation or contact with contaminated surfaces. This makes dentists vulnerable to contracting Covid-19. But I could continue with our work due to the vaccine which makes our immunity strong enough to fight with the virus. So, I decided to take the third shot,” said Dr Hiren, who had undergone an angioplasty a few years ago. Another beneficiary, Mangesh Salgaonkar, 45 who is an employee at KEM Hospital, Parel, also took the third jab on Monday. “We have worked in close proximity with infected patients. But the vaccine saved me from contracting the infection. Before the introduction of the vaccination, we were so scared. But now, we have an assurance that even if we get infected, the severity will be less,” said Salgaonkar.

Dr Avinash Supe, director of Hinduja Hospital who took the third dose at BKC jumbo centre on Monday, appealed to the eligible beneficiaries to get the booster shot. “It will help to prevent serious infection and ICU admission. One should, however, ensure that they do not have any symptoms of Covid, in which case they should avoid taking vaccines.”

Of the 49,307 beneficiaries in the state, Mumbai administered 10,698 booster shots, Pune did 6,638 vaccinations and in Thane, a total of 4,692 beneficiaries took the third dose. In Nagpur, 3,035 vaccines were administered. “In the next 3-4 days, we expect the footfall of beneficiaries to increase as more people get eligible for it,” said State Immunisation Officer Dr Sachin Desai.

However, a certain section of the medical fraternity emphasised on the need to tweak the existing eligibility criteria, considering the increasing cases of Covid-19.

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