Updated: June 24, 2021 7:38:14 am
Madhya Pradesh Wednesday administered 11.17 lakh Covid-19 vaccinations, after hitting the highest mark of 17.44 lakh on Monday, on the first day of the new vaccination programme. The second highest mark of over 11 lakh came after vaccinations slumped to a mere 4,842 doses on Tuesday.
The high vaccination numbers were due to each district being given specific targets to meet, officials said. Ujjain District Collector Ashish Singh issued a letter Tuesday saying government employees will not get salaries from next month if they are not inoculated. In Bhopal, policemen stopped motorists to ask for their vaccination certificates.
A senior police officer in Bhopal said the measures were meant to create awareness.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has helmed the immunisation drive in the state and has been himself visiting houses of people urging them to take the shot.
Additional Chief Secretary Mohamad Suleman said the state had successfully tackled vaccine hesitancy. “MP had two challenges, shortage of vaccines and vaccine hesitancy. At one point, we recorded 270 zero sessions with no one coming forward to vaccinate. That is no more the case,” he said.
Madhya Pradesh immunisation officer Santosh Shukla said Tuesday’s dip to 4,842 was because, as per the Centre’s guidelines, Tuesdays and Fridays are kept aside for routine immunisations of mothers and infants. Sunday is a holiday, he added, to give health workers a break. (These specifications do not apply to private vaccination centres.)
Incidentally, the previous three Tuesdays saw significantly higher Covid-19 shots in MP — June 1: 15,062; June 8: 57,590; and June 15: 39,874.
The three days preceding the mega jump of Monday June 21 saw MP record its lowest vaccinations for the month: June 18, Friday: 14,862 vaccinations; June 19: 22,006; and June 20: 692.
Shukla said this was because Friday was this time observed as ‘zero immunisation’ day and Saturday reserved for planning for the massive drive to mark the start of the new scheme on June 21. A senior officer said the state had only three days to prepare for the Monday launch.
Week by week incidentally, the numbers have been stable in MP lately: 15.63 lakh vaccinations between May 29 and June 4; 15.30 lakh in June 5-11; and 11.51 lakh in June 12-18.
On June 17, Chouhan had announced that on June 21, the state would organise 7,000 vaccination camps (nearly double the 3,000-4,000 usually), and said officials should make people aware about the mega drive.
Shukla said MP’s target was to vaccinate at least 10 lakh people in a day, and hence the preparations included provisions for any adverse events. “We had to reorganise our staff, stocks and replan.”
The state immunisation officer added that after they got early alerts that many more people might turn up for vaccination, they approached the Centre for five lakh extra doses and got them. “This was on the night of June 20. The drivers from divisional headquarters were called in at 9:30 pm, the vaccines landed, the drivers drove all night to get the shots to the camps,” said Shukla.
A senior official said the state has been assured 57 lakh doses for June and 90 lakh for July by the Centre. “But if we target 10 lakh per day, we’ll need about 1.60 crore doses per month. We will keep pushing the Central government, and if we meet our targets, it builds confidence.”
Around 5.5 crore people in MP are eligible to receive Covid vaccinations, and the state has administered at least one dose to 1.46 crore. It recorded 84 new cases and 21 Covid deaths on Wednesday.
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