Maharashtra: Over 90 lakh yet not vaccinated for COVID; 9.25 lakh from Thane haven't taken single dose

According to a presentation of the state health department, 92.44 lakh people have not taken even a single dose of the vaccine as on March 31, 2022, with Thane topping the list, followed by Jalgaon (6.38 lakh), Nashik (5.87 lakh), Nanded (5.75 lakh) and Ahmednagar (5.35 lakh).

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Wednesday, April 06, 2022, 11:23 PM IST
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Mumbai: A beneficiary receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine from a healthworker, at Dahisar in Mumbai, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. | (PTI Photo)

Even as Covid restrictions have been entirely lifted in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, here’s some startling news: Thane district, which is 22.8 kilometres away from the city, has the largest number of unvaccinated people in the state, at 9.25 lakh.

According to a presentation of the state health department, 92.44 lakh people have not taken even a single dose of the vaccine as on March 31, 2022, with Thane topping the list, followed by Jalgaon (6.38 lakh), Nashik (5.87 lakh), Nanded (5.75 lakh) and Ahmednagar (5.35 lakh).

State health officials have attributed this state of affairs to public mentality and vaccine hesitancy. The state health department has directed all the district collectors, health officers and medical staff to take measures at the ground level and vaccinate each one of them, as it is the only weapon that will act as a barrier against the novel coronavirus.

State Immunisation Officer Sachin Desai said that people who had not taken even a single dose, as well as those who had missed their second one, were being contacted personally by health teams. “Our teams contact the beneficiaries and try to convince them to take the jab. Now that the third wave has settled down, the fear of infection is also reduced. People have also become complacent as they realise that they may have already developed antibodies. The coverage of first-dose administration has reached 92 per cent, while it’s 74 per cent for the second dose,” he said.

Doctors from the Thane district said they had directed all their health staff to check on the beneficiaries who have not taken any dose of vaccine and determine the reason for this. They have also directed counselling to dispel vaccine myths.

“People are not coming forward for vaccination, seeing that cases have come down and feel there is no point in being vaccinated. But they are unaware that only vaccines will play a vital role in protecting them from novel coronavirus. We have asked our health staff to undertake door-to-door visits and reach each one of them,” he said.

Another doctor from Ahmednagar district said that unlike the situation during the peak of the pandemic, now, villagers have lost interest in taking the jab. “After counselling, all agree to get the jab but 90 per cent don’t turn up. Now, with no active Covid-19 cases in the district, it is more challenging than ever to convince them to get vaccinated,” she added.

Meanwhile, health experts have warned that the unvaccinated and the elderly with severe comorbidities fall in the vulnerable category and could infect others if the state is hit by another wave. “Vaccination plays an important role, as the severity of infection decreases and most of the deaths reported were among the unvaccinated and those with underlying health issues,” said Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician, Bombay Hospital.

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