Lucknow: To speed up the COVID-19 vaccination drive in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has announced a cash reward program via a lucky draw for those who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) Health Amit Mohan Prasad said that the cash reward program is being launched from Wednesday on the occasion of the World Health Day. Under the program, a cash reward of Rs 2,000 will be given to 4 to 8 people in all 75 districts of the state through lucky draws.
Only those who have received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine will qualify for the lucky draw to get the cash reward. Only those districts which have achieved a minimum 25,000 vaccinations will qualify for the program.
The number of awardees have been categorized in three parts – four vaccinated persons who have received double dose will be awarded in districts having done 25,000 vaccinations, six in 50,000 and eight persons will be awarded cash in districts administered above 50,000 double dose vaccines.
Uttar Pradesh is lagging behind Maharashtra in its vaccination drive. It has administered vaccines to only 73.19 lakh people, including 11.39 lakh people who have taken the second dose, against Maharashtra's record tally of more than 8 million.
What is worrying the state government is that out of the 8.9 lakh health workers who had taken the first dose, 2.95 lakh have not turned up till date for the second dose. Similarly, out of 7.59 lakh frontline workers, 3.44 lakhs are yet to receive the second dose.
Considering the state's huge population of 24 crore, Uttar Pradesh is way behind in vaccination drive. “It will take many years before people of the state are fully inoculated. A door to door polio-like drive is the need of the hour to break the coronavirus second wave chain,” said a senior health department officer.
It is necessary to take both doses to develop antibodies for coronavirus. “The main aim of the cash reward program is to motivate people to get both doses of the vaccines to break the chain of second surge of coronavirus,” said the ACS Health.
The state government has already directed the health department to speed up the process and launch a focussed vaccination drive. Though it has set a target of 7 lakh vaccines per day, it has so far achieved it's highest of 4.17 lakh doses on a single day on March 18.
The State Health department has thanked the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for writing to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open vaccination for all above the age of 15 years. The Yogi Adityanath government was the first to take the issue with the Union home ministry to develop the ‘herd immunity’ in Uttar Pradesh.