Updated: July 28, 2021 10:29:51 am
LOW VACCINE stocks have brought to a halt the ambitious pilot project of the PCMC of conducting Covid-19 vaccination drive in slums.
Senior corporator and former standing committee chairperson Seema Salve blamed the PCMC administration for failing to ensure free availability to run the drive.
The PCMC had chosen the sprawling slum of Khandevasti for the project. It had aimed to vaccinate slum residents at their doorstep. Before the launch of the vaccination drive, Salve and PCMC officials had even taken up a major awareness drive against vaccine hesitancy. While most slum residents are daily wage earners, their access to the vaccine is limited. Salve said most were hesitant to get their jab. At the beginning of the drive, Salve and civic officials had even gone from door to door to convince people to get the vaccine. “The civic body tags these people as super spreaders, but does not make any effort to vaccinate them,” Salve had said.
Due to the awareness drive and availability of vaccine at the doorstep, close to 80 per cent Khandevasti residents took their jabs. After the success of the drive, two other slums — Balajinagar (largest slum in PCMC) and Ganeshnagar — were selected for a similar drive. In most areas, the community hall was chosen as the venue for the vaccination drive. Heavy rain in the last two weeks, however, was also an obstacle.
Salve said the biggest concern now was the availability of the vaccine. “The civic administration is responsible for ensuring vaccine availability but have failed to do so. When I questioned the officers, they said they are not being given vaccines,” she said, adding that private hospitals were able to continue their drives.
“There is complete lack of transparency on how civic bodies in Pune division are allocated vaccines. The civic chief is not able to answer our questions,” she added.
Due to vaccine stocks running low, the drive at government centres has been able to run only for a day or two in the last few days. “The demand for vaccine is high in government centres, people line up since 5 am to get their jab,” she said.
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