BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has, so far, vaccinated only 19 per cent of the total registered beneficiaries in its mass immunisation drive that started on January 16. To speed it up, the civic body has now decided to conduct the drive in two shifts in some of its centres from 7am to 2pm and then from 2pm to 9pm. Meanwhile, health experts have raised concern over the target of vaccinating 1 lakh beneficiaries. The daily turnout has been gradually dipping. And, so far, not more than 50,000 people have been vaccinated in the city.
According to the vaccine data provided by the civic Health Department, until March 24, 9,73,823 registered beneficiaries have been vaccinated, which accounts for only 19 per cent of the total population vaccinated across Maharashtra. Of the total vaccinated in Mumbai, 9,02,092 have been administered with Covishield and the remaining 71,731 have been inoculated with Covaxin.
Mumbai’s turnout has been on a constant decline for five days. On Wednesday, for the first time since the drive for senior citizens started on March 1, the elderly footfall dropped below 20,000. Of the 34,633 people who took the vaccine on Wednesday, 18,194 were senior citizens, 9,255 were frontline workers, 4,071 were people over 45 years of age with co-morbidities and 3,113 were healthcare workers.
Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, said the vaccination drive would be intensified. The civic body has decided to run the vaccination drive in two shifts in some of their vaccine centres. “We are working on increasing the hours of the vaccination drive and starting more centres. We are also awaiting the approval of 19 more private hospitals in the drive. From the next week, we are hoping the turnout of beneficiaries will increase,” he said.
Dr Deepak Baid, president, Association of Medical Consultants, said the government should aggressively plan to improve the vaccination drive and create awareness. “There should be door-to-door service for the vaccination drive so that none of the beneficiaries are missed. We need to create more awareness. There are many myths related to the vaccines because of which beneficiaries are not coming forward,” he said.