March 2, 2021 2:29:52 am
Maharashtra vaccinated 5,867 senior citizens and 1,253 comorbid population on Monday as the next phase of immunisation kicked off, data pooled from several districts and state health department show.
Even as a large number of senior citizens and people with various co-morbidities thronged vaccination centres in several cities, Maharashtra’s overall vaccination numbers fell by half on Monday, achieving 48 per cent of targeted vaccinations.
Until 9 pm, 29,512 health workers, frontline workers and senior citizens were vaccinated, down from over 58,000 that the state clocked in its last session on Friday. Of the 29,512, 17,688 were health workers, 7,705 were frontline workers, and 7,120 were senior citizens and comorbid population. These numbers are likely to get updated, said Dr Archana Patil, director (Family Welfare, Directorate of Health Services), since several private hospitals were yet to report the total number they immunised.
Blaming the delay in activation of CoWIN software, which ranged from half an hour to over six hours in a few centres, state officials said the poor vaccination count on Monday was because vaccination could not be started until a recipient was verified on the software. Several centres urged the central government to allow vaccination process offline. The upgraded CoWIN 2.0 was under testing mode on Saturday and Sunday before it was launched on Monday.
Rural and tribal areas showed poor turnout of senior citizens and people with co-morbidities as compared to cities owing to low awareness. Mumbai, Thane and Pune to some extent witnessed crowded centres, with an eager elderly queue waiting for hours to get their jab.
Mumbai recorded maximum vaccinations on Monday with 1,982 senior citizens and people with comorbidities getting a shot. In cities, people preferred to register on app to schedule vaccination slots while rural areas saw on-the-spot registration at centres.
In Gadchiroli, only 50 senior citizens and people with comorbidities came for vaccination. District health officer Dr Shashikant Shambharkar said awareness that vaccination is now available for general population is still low in tribal parts of the district. “We will be giving advertisements in local newspapers on how to register on the portal for vaccination,” he said.
In Amravati, 73 people, aged more than 60 or with co-morbidities, turned up for vaccination. Health officials realise they may have to start door-to-door visits to encourage people to step up for vaccination.
“Those who knew were eager to take the vaccine. In hilly areas, people don’t know about it. Our health workers will begin touring to raise awareness. Once the software runs smoothly, we will start contacting people with co-morbidities registered with government centres,” civil surgeon Dr Shyamsunder Nikam said.
A list of people with cancer, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes is registered with state government under the ‘National Programme for prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke’. District officials plan to tap this list.
In Nandurbar, of 170 people vaccinated, 26 belonged to comorbid and above 60 age group. “It was only yesterday that training program and proper information about the next phase was given to us. A lot of people don’t know how to register online. We will have to create awareness through health workers,” civil surgeon Dr Raghunath Bhoe said.
The Nandurbar vaccination centre faced power cut for half an hour.
In Palghar, 82 senior citizens and people with comorbidities received vaccine. “Software started working late and we could not vaccinate everyone today. Many have been asked to return later,” said Milind Chavan, immunisation officer in Palghar.
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