Though Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has managed to vaccinate all above 18 years of age, Mumbai is still lagging behind in vaccinating children between 15 to 17 years of age. According to the data provided by the state health department, of the 36 districts, the city ranked 29th in position in vaccinating adolescents. Till now 49 per cent of children have taken the first dose of Covid-19, while only 10 per cent have been fully vaccinated. Civic and health officials have attributed this to the rumours spreading on social media due to which parents are afraid to get their children vaccinated. Moreover most parents believe Covid has started to vanish from the city. Meanwhile, the civic body believes numbers will increase in coming days for which they will be creating more awareness.
Dr Suhas Prabhu, Head of the Paediatric Task Force in Maharashtra said there are no particular reason why Mumbai is lagging behind in vaccinating children and there are other factors due to which children are not coming forward to take Covid vaccine in the city compared to other districts of Maharashtra.
“Parents are still hesitating in vaccinating their children considering the vaccine has side effects and their children had to suffer for it. Moreover most of them are still preferring online studies due to which their parents do not feel they are vaccinating their children. However we cannot compare Mumbai with other districts as still most of the schools have not started, but still I urge parents to come forward and get their children vaccinated considering Covid has impacted children during the third wave,” he said.
According to the data provided by the state health department, until February 13, the state average of vaccinating children with the first dose is 56.47 per cent, while only 13.38 per cent have been fully vaccinated across Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, senior health experts from the civic health department have cited several reasons for the lowest vaccination in the age group of 15 to 17 years of age which include misconception related to vaccines, school exams and cases has dropped so necessity of vaccinating has also reduced.
“We have been urging parents to come forward for children's vaccination but rumours circulating on social media has impacted the vaccination drive. Moreover, fewer centres in the early days when only nine centres were functional which had played a vital role for vaccinating less children. Meanwhile, cases have reduced so parents believe there is no need of vaccinating their children until it's necessary,” said a doctor from the civic health department.
Dr Sachin Patil, State Immunisation Officer, said all the districts are doing their best in vaccinating children but still there are few districts that have vaccinated less than 50 per cent of children with the first dose which include Mumbai. “We have asked all district health officers to create more awareness about children vaccination drives which will help in increasing the number of beneficiaries. Moreover we have also asked to visit door to door for the children's vaccination. However in Mumbai there were very less covid vaccine centres for children due to which numbers are less but it will increase initially in the coming days,” he said.