The State Health Department is concerned that 1.68 crore people have missed their second Covid-19 dose. While 1.37 crore people missed the second dose of Covishield, 31.45 have given Covaxin a miss. Of the total state’s eligible population, 77.16 per cent are fully vaccinated. The drop in Covid cases after the third wave and misconceptions related to vaccination are being attributed as reasons for not getting inoculated.
State immunisation officials said vaccination is being promoted widely as it has emerged as the main scientific reason for a milder wave.
As per data, 13.13 lakh beneficiaries in Pune are overdue for the second dose of Covishield, followed by 9.27 lakh in Thane, 8.94 lakh in Mumbai, 8.57 lakh in Nagpur, 7.8 lakh in Solapur and 6.28 lakh in Ahmednagar. Similarly, over 2.26 lakh of beneficiaries in Pune have not taken their second Covaxin dose, followed by 1.90 lakh in Buldhana, 1.69 lakh in Mumbai, 1.40 lakh in Nanded and 1.32 lakh in Nanded.
Executive health officer Dr Mangala Gomare said these numbers consist of beneficiaries from all age groups. They did agree that some might have completed their second dose but it has not been updated on the portal.
Officials said that in Mumbai, though, the eligible population over the age of 18 years is fully vaccinated, but in other districts Har Ghar Dastak (door to door) drive has been initiated to shore up the numbers.
Dr Wasim Khot, a consultant for infectious diseases at Global Hospital in Parel, said that one of the reasons people may not be taking the second dose is that the last Omicron wave was relatively mild. “The fear associated with Covid has come down,” he said, adding that misinformation about vaccines is also prevalent. “There is a need to identify whether there is a genuine lack of awareness or if there is any logistic difficulty,” he added.
State immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai said that schools have reopened and wearing of masks is not mandatory, so vaccination needs to be encouraged. Another district health officer said, “We are hardly getting new beneficiaries. Due to the time gap of 84 days, the public is waiting for second doses. Other than that, booster shots and vaccination among the younger population are the biggest contributors to the latest vaccination tally.”