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Panchkula achieves 100% double-dose vaccination for eligible population, becomes Haryana’s third district to achieve feat

Panchkula on Friday met its target to jab 100% of its target population with two doses of the Covid vaccine, thereby becoming the third district in Haryana — after Gurugram and Ambala — to achieve such a feat.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
Updated: January 14, 2022 10:13:46 pm
Panchkula vaccinationAlmost 50 vaccination centres currently remain functional in the district (Representational)

Panchkula on Friday met its target to jab 100% of its target population with two doses of the Covid vaccine, thereby becoming the third district in Haryana — after Gurugram and Ambala — to achieve such a feat.

As per officials, the district authorities had set a deadline of January 15 to achieve 100% vaccination of its eligible population and managed to achieve the target a day in advance. As of Friday, a total of 4.4 lakh (100.15 percent of target population) of the district population has been fully vaccinated and at least 5.3 lakh (110.4 percent of the target population) had got their first doses.

Almost 50 vaccination centres currently remain functional in the district. A total of 3567 precautionary doses have also been given. More than 45 per cent of the total beneficiaries between 15-18 age group have also been vaccinated with the first dose.

Speaking about the journey, Dr Meenu Sasan, immunisation officer of the district termed the feat as challenging. “Vaccinations had started began on January 16 last year. When I was handed over the charge for Covid vaccination, I was nervous as it was a humongous task. I was happy, too, to have been given the responsibility and challenge.”

Initially, as vaccination had only begun for the health care workers and frontline workers, the first challenge Sasan’s team encountered was that of vaccine hesitancy, even among some health care workers. “But as senior citizens, frontline workers and other health officials came forward to get their jabs, those who were hesitant got motivated. Some others, who had refused to get the jabs initially, did so when the second wave of the pandemic swept through the country in April,” said Dr Sasan.

Another challenge that the health officials had to overcome was that of a vaccine shortage. “We knew we could not have let the people think that there were no vaccines. This would have demotivated them. We reduced the timings when doses were administered. Instead of 10 sessions, we started inoculating people in five sessions. However, we never completely shut down even for a single day in the past year.

Every day in the last year, people have been vaccinated in the district. We never let the people feel there were no vaccines. everyone who came in received a shot. We managed our doses efficiently, identified priority groups, and kept the vaccinations senior citizens open on the side simultaneously,” she said.

As a result, the target population of senior citizens in the district was fully vaccinated by September. “Our mobile units were the ones that made this achievement possible. We did not want them [the senior citizens] to come outside and get infected. We went to them, to their doors, and to their houses to vaccinate them. It was the ANMs in rural areas who played the biggest role. They went door-to-door, convinced people- especially the senior citizens — and won their trust,” added Dr Sasan.

A third challenge that Dr Sasan cited was the management of manpower during the second wave when over 300 health workers tested positive. “It had become a task. But we asked for outside help. Pharmacists, lab technicians, even doctors vaccinated people at times. Our ANMs did not test positive somehow and they were the ones who took the drive forward at a time when no one else could work,” said Dr Sasan.

Praising the ANMs for the work done in achieving the milestone, Dr Sasan said, “Despite wide-scale vaccination of Covid, we did not abandon our other immunization drives. All other vaccinations were open and went hand-in-hand, thanks to the ANMs who worked overtime.”

Vaccinating the district’s migratory population was a task for the team. “There were people who had no identity cards at all. These are people who are constantly on the move and hence pose a high threat to the non-infected population. We took a few days but started organizing camps to vaccinate them on our IDs and via our phones,” said Dr Sasan.

Talking about another obstacle faced, she said, “We faced high hesitancy for vaccinating people with the second dose as well. A generic feeling of latency had crept in the population. The second wave had passed, and cases were at an all-time low.

People did not feel the need to get their second doses. Great efforts were put in to mobilise people for their second doses. We focused on poor performing and reluctant areas. We made our deputies adopt villages and vaccinate all of them with special focus. Our deputies involved village heads and sarpanches. Further, we started focusing on evening sessions. We went to markets, langars, religious places, and even tied up with organisations and RWAs.”

The ‘Har ghar dastak’ program started by the Haryana government further gained them access. “We asked for saksham workers from the district to call people due for their second doses. We saw people get irritated with the calls. We simply told them, you will continue to get these calls till you are fully vaccinated. The onset of the third wave finally gave the impetus that was missing and people started coming in in droves again to get their doses,” she added.

“There are still hundreds who are due for their second doses. We are still motivating them to come in. All our encouragement programs continue to run. Though there is no burden, we aim to vaccinate the whole of our actual population as soon as possible. There are still people who do not believe in vaccines. There will always be people who do not believe in vaccines. But we will continue to put in all our efforts. ,” she said.

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