The booster dose drive for all adults in the city hasn’t kicked off with a zeal for vaccination seen after the deadly second Covid-19 wave. As per the norm of a gap of nine months after the second dose, 10-12 lakh beneficiaries should have taken the booster in the past one week, but less than 12,000 in the 18-59 age group have come forward since April 10. That is merely 10 per cent of the target. In the 18-44 group, though, only 1,207 people have taken the precautionary dose; this is a further 10 per cent of the total in the past few days. In other words, most booster doses were taken by people aged between 45 and 59 years.
Experts said that the drive hasn’t taken off as expected, but it is early days yet. Civic and health officials have attributed this sluggish pace to both fearlessness, and the fact that many people still haven’t taken their second dose (there are 10 lakh such people). However, they are hopeful that the demand will increase in the coming days. Most of those first vaccinated from May will start becoming eligible towards the end of April.
Dr Joy Chakraborty, the chief operating officer of PD Hinduja Hospital, attributed this to a drop in Covid cases, as also waiting periods for those who contracted the infection. “We have been administering 250-300 precautionary doses since April 10. But there are some beneficiaries who still haven’t made up their mind. But we are hopeful and have procured 8,000 doses of Covishield,” he said.
Saying that it is too early to comment on a trend, a senior doctor said, “There are people who have completed nine months after the second dose but contracted Covid, owing to which for the next three months they cannot take the booster dose.”
Dr Santosh Shetty, chief operating officer of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Andheri, said the booster dose uptake is currently among students going abroad and business people who have to travel. “We have not placed an order for large quantities like we did last time,” he said.