Mumbai: Free booster jab drive losing steam after initial hoopla

The response to the campaign, however, has dropped across Mumbai compared to what it was before July 15.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Monday, July 25, 2022, 08:51 AM IST
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Mumbai: Free booster jab drive losing steam after initial hoopla |

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), as part of the ongoing 75 day-long campaign launched by the Central Government to provide free booster vaccines to people in the 18-59 years bracket, was looking to inoculate as many people as possible with booster doses.

The response to the campaign, however, has dropped across Mumbai compared to what it was before July 15. As per BMC data, in the last eight days, 74,571 people between 18 and 59 years took a free booster shot at Mumbai, with 9,321 jabs being administered in a single day. However, in the first four days of the campaign, 12,000 people on average were being vaccinated daily.

“We are expecting the numbers to rise. Community health workers will be asked to spread awareness,” said Dr Mangla Gomare, executive health officer, BMC. The senior health official said that the newer variants are far more infective and cause immune escape. “The vaccines may not be 100 per cent effective against them, but giving them earlier may give them a chance to prevent severe diseases and hospitalisation, especially the vulnerable groups and frontline workers, senior citizens, people who have comorbidities and other underlying illnesses,”

Dr Gomare said, adding that vaccination and booster doses have played a crucial role in bringing down the surge in Covid cases.

Dr Trupti Gilada, infectious disease specialist, Masina Hospital, said a major proportion of the population recovered from Covid during the two Omicron surges in January and June this year. The boosters were made available to most of these individuals only after the January wave.

“The reason that people are postponing the booster shots is either having already recovered from this infection, or milder disease seen with the Omicron variant. Having received a booster is also not a requirement for travel or entry into malls or theatres. We know that these disincentives played a role in pushing people to receive the first two doses initially,” she said.

Dr Sonam Solanki, consultant pulmonologist, Masina Hospital, said, “There will be ups and downs in the number of cases. Although we are not changing the rate of hospitalisation or serious illnesses any more, it is a good time to take the booster dose if people have not taken it.” She added that it is no longer about deaths, but people also need to make sure no days are lost at work.

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