May 8, 2021 5:34:28 am
Marathwada’s Hingoli district has recorded the lowest immunisation coverage in the state, with only 10.8 per cent of those aged above 45 years so far vaccinated with the first dose. The state’s vaccination average is 29.1 per cent.
The tiny district has 13.8 lakh people, with 4.14 lakh aged above 45 years. Among them, only 44,909 people have received at least one dose until May 2.
Interestingly, Hingoli was a top performer in the initial days of the vaccine roll out in January, recording 100 per cent or sometimes more, immunisations. On January 16, it was scheduled to give jabs to 200 healthcare workers and managed to vaccinate all. On January 22, it scheduled 200 but vaccinated 234 people.
From February, the district’s daily performance started dipping. “There is no vaccine hesitancy here, in fact, people are enthusiastic and keep inquiring whether vaccination centres are open. The problem is availability of doses, which is affecting our performance,” said District Health Officer Dr S P Pawar.
He added that vaccine “supply to Hingoli is limited” and the state government has been requested several times to increase stock. “If the district gets 5,000 doses, it finishes the stock in two days and most centres sit idle for four to five days until fresh stock arrives.”
“We have also began vaccination in sub-centres to reach out to the village population,” Pawar said.
State officials, however, said doses are allocated based on a district’s daily vaccination rate and active cases, and Hingoli manages to vaccinate only 500 to 1,500 people a day.
Hingoli MP and Shiv Sena Hemant Patil said the district has 62 centres. “In some pockets, there is vaccine hesitancy. Haphazard allocation of doses has also hampered the drive,” he said. Blaming poor allocation of shots, Collector Ruchesh Jayavanshi said: “It is a vicious cycle, if we get less stock, we will immunise less number of people. There are times when centres have no stock for three to five days at a stretch. We are utilising the entire quota allocated to us.”
Officials said the limited healthcare staff in the district is also strained between Covid-19 and vaccination duty.
Data shows that Hingoli received close to 1.15 lakh doses since January 16, of which 35,000 doses arrived on Wednesday. The district has a target to immunise 6,200 people a day.
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