Udaigarh (Alirajpur district, Madhya Pradesh): Vaccinations have aided the world in eradicating multiple diseases and brought many others to the brink of elimination. Keeping this in mind, India has rolled out mass Covid-19 vaccination drive from March 1 as it aims to end coronavirus.
However, hesitation and lack of interest among beneficiaries have put gains at peril in Udaigarh block of tribal predominant Alirajpur district where only 14 to 16 per cent of people visit vaccination centres against the total daily target.
The literacy rate in Alirajpur district is 36 per cent, less than half of the national average, according to 2011 census and this can be one of the reasons that health department is finding it difficult to convince tribals about benefits of vaccination and thus achieve the target.
According to information, the health department has set a target to vaccinate about 55 per cent of total population in Alirajpur district to contain the disease. To achieve the target, the department has set a target to vaccinate 500 people per day in Udaigarh block including 350 at a community health centre in Udaigarh and remaining 150 at the public health centre in Bori block. Instead of 500, only 70 to 80 people visit centres to get themselves vaccinated though vaccine is available for free.
According to the chief block medical officer Dr Amit Dalal, there is a target of to administer 350 vaccines per day in community health centre, 150 in public health centre but only 35-40 people visit each there everyday.
Department has posted health officer at Badi Zuari, Bhadakhapar and Temachi village in Udaigarh block. The surrounding village will be covered to increase vaccination per day. Dr Dalal said vaccine is good with no side effects so far. “So, everyone it should be administered to everyone,” he added.
Jobat sub divisional magistrate Shyamveer Singh said demand for Indian Covid vaccine is high abroad but people opt for private centres to get vaccinated though it is available free of cost at community and public health centres.
Health department sources claimed that though the administration is leaving no stone unturned to generate awareness about social distancing, use of sanitizers and masks, no steps have been taken for awareness regarding vaccination. As a result, there is hesitation among people here.
Department officials said vaccine hesitancy is not new to India especially in rural areas. The same dilemma was noted during vaccination for plague, cholera in colonial-era decades ago.