In the jab fight against the pandemic, the Capital city of Odisha today walked into the hall of fame when the City's civic body BMC announced that Bhubaneswar will become the first city in the country to administer jabs to the targeted population in the age group of 18-plus.
"A total of 18.16 lakh doses, including 7.598 lakh second doses, have been administered in the State Capital as of July 29. The target population to be vaccinated in the city is 9.7 lakh. Soon, we will accomplish our goal and register ourselves as the first city to achieve target vaccination," said Laxmikant Sethi, Addl. BMC Commissioner.
Even as the ride to the path of glory has been paved by pro-active officials in the BMC, certain advantageous factors have worked to the hilt as per the BMC's plan and became the fuel for the vaccination overdrive.
Though the targeted population to be vaccinated in the BMC area has been little over 3 per cent of the over 3 crore persons to be vaccinated in the State, the number of vaccination sites in the State Capital accounted for over 5 per cent of total vaccinated sites across the State. The numbers tell the aggressive exercise of the civic body.
Most Urbanised City
With Bhubaneswar having been the State's most urbanised city, this demographic feature has paid a high dividend to its vaccination overdrive. Though the City in its initial days saw some sort of vaccine hesitancy, the pace of the second wave in the Capital City has brought a mutagenic shift, whereby the hesitancy is supplanted by vaccine acceptability.
“Initially, the city did see a high order of vaccine hesitancy. Many were wary about filling the consent form. In addition, the required medical check-ups like blood pressure, submission of their medical history et al aided the hesitancy factor in the Capital city. However, as the second wave spread with a rapid pace, the hesitancy gave way to a high degree of acceptability in the temple city,” recalled a vaccination officer in the Capital Hospital.
Size Matters: Small Yields Big Gain
As per the data with CoWIN portal, Mumbai had to date administered 74.51 lakh doses, Ahmedabad (37.91 lakh), Bengaluru BBMP + Urban (over 85 lakh), Kolkata (46.21 lakh), Chennai (36.3 lakh), Lucknow (19.55 lakh), Jaipur (20.92 lakh) etc.
The above data shows that many peer cities in the country have, in fact, administered more doses than Bhubaneswar (18.16 lakh), but as the target size of the population to be vaccinated in the State Capital is comparatively small, the Capital City of Odisha has reaped the demographic advantage.
Covaxin - The Game Changer
While the City had the headstart in the jab race due to the aforementioned factors, the clincher of the race has been the Covaxin - India's desi vaccine.
The supply of the desi vaccine to the State Capital has been steady. While the State Government had often been flagged on the acute shortage of Covishield doses in the State, affecting its vaccination pace, hardly any supply-side constraint was witnessed in the case of Covaxin.
The data of the Covaxin dose supply to the State lends the evidence. As of today, the Union Government has supplied a massive 5.52 cr Covaxin doses across the states in the country. Odisha had been provided with a total of over 23.18 lakh doses, which is around 4 per cent of the total doses supplied to date.
In contrast, the population to be vaccinated by Covaxin in Odisha (Bhubaneswar) has been around 3.5 per cent of the total Covaxin vaccinated population in the country, reveals data with the CoWIN portal.