Vikash Sharma

With a majority of urban population vaccinated against COVID-19 in Odisha, the State government has now augmented the ongoing vaccination drive in rural pockets.

Bijay Panigrahi, Director, Health and Family Welfare Department on Friday said that the government has targeted to administer first dose of Covid vaccine to all eligible beneficiaries among the target population by December this year. Already special measures have been taken to increase the vaccination coverage in rural areas in different parts of the State, he said.

“Earlier, the vaccination programme was carried out at 1600 centres which have now been increased to 2300 to 2400 centres across the State. The majority of such centres are in rural areas,” said Panigrahi.

Panigrahi, who is the nodal officer for the State vaccination programme, said that emphasis is being given to speed up inoculations by forming clusters of one or two villages in different parts of the State. He said in the aftermath of the launch of the nation-wide campaign 'Har Ghar Dastak', the Covid-19 vaccination coverage has registered an increase.

The vaccination rate has increased to 40 per cent from the earlier 35 per cent, he stated. Of the total targeted adult population, 3.98 crore beneficiaries have already been vaccinated and the total vaccination is likely to cross 4 crore today.

Of this, around 2.66 crore have received the first dose (80 per cent) and 1.32 crore have got double doses. Around 31 lakh beneficiaries are scheduled to be administered the second dose of the vaccine.

Booster Dose:

Bijay Mohapatra, Director, State Health Services on Friday said that a lot of research and analysis are presently underway over the need for booster dose against Covid-19. However, people across the country need to be cautious and follow appropriate Covid behaviour even though there has been a gradual decline in the number of daily infections.

“We will take appropriate decision on booster dose only on the recommendations by the WHO, other international agencies and technical bodies,” said Mohapatra. On Covid-19 situation in Odisha, Mohapatra said the infection graph is showing a declining trend after plateauing stage since July.

“As of now, the State is placed in a much better position when we take into account various aspects, including the number of daily infections which have been registering a decline,” Mohapatra added.