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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • Based on the 2011 census data, the civic body had first put the target population (18 yrs and above) to be vaccinated at around 8.5 lakh.
  • However, taking the year-wise census projections done by the Registrar General of India (RGI), the target population for vaccination has been increased to around 9.7 lakh.
  • Though Census 2021 is yet to be conducted, an investigation shows that the total voters (18yrs and above) in the Bhubaneswar City during the 2019 elections stood at over 10.03 lakh.

The State Capital City's civic body hooked a sixer in the vaccination drive when on August 1 it claimed that Bhubaneswar has become the first city in the country to take the trophy of vaccinating the targeted population of around 9.7 lakh. And in doing so, it has attained the status of 'herd immunity' against the coronavirus.  

However, a glance at last month's (July 13-Aug 12) data shows that even as the vaccine meter in the Capital City of Odisha showed inoculation of over 3.3 lakh more during the last month, in the same vein the active caseload in the city too has measured a rise of 1,789 during the same period.

The above data comparison shows that the pace of vaccination in the Capital City has had little impact on the spread of the virus here. In the given scenario, the moot point is did the State Capital attain the 'herd immunity' status really? Because, herd immunity only will prevent the strike of a Third-wave on the City.

Fully Vaccination - A Reality Check

As per the data released by BMC today, a total of 11.19 lakh had received the first dose of Covaxin. The catch here is the target population of the civic body was 9.7 lakh. The increased intake of vax doses shows that the full vaccination exercise in the Capital City is not a one-day match, rather the BMC has to play a test match to score a win.

Why Target Chasing Continues?

In fact, based on the 2011 census data, the civic body had first put the target population (18 yrs and above) to be vaccinated at around 8.5 lakh. As per the 2011 census, the total population in the city was 8.85 lakh, including 81k children in the age group of 0-6 years.

However, taking the year-wise census projections done by the Registrar General of India (RGI), the target population for vaccination has been increased to around 9.7 lakh.

Though Census 2021 is yet to be conducted, an investigation shows that the total voters (18yrs and above) in the Bhubaneswar City during the 2019 elections stood at over 10.03 lakh.

A look at the Aadhar cards generated to date throws interesting details. While Bhubaneswar with over 10 lakh 18-plus voters has seen the generation of mere 3.11 lakh cards of 18 years and above, the nearby Jatni with a total elector of over 2.37 lakh in 2019 had seen the generation of 4.74 lakh aadhar cards in the age-group of 18 yrs and above.

The above data shows that Capital City has a large migrant population. As a consequence, the target chasing continues for the BMC.

Herd Immunity in Bhubaneswar?

Before the big strike by the second wave on the Capital city, the seropositive status of the residents in Bhubaneswar in October 2020 was 50 per cent. As per Lancet and US-based CDC study, herd immunity will be achieved only when nearly 70-80 per cent of the population in a region develop antibodies either naturally or via vaccination.

Though the latest serosurvey results of the State Capital are yet to be released by the RMRC, Bhubaneswar, if the vaccination status in the City alone is to be considered then the second dose has been administered to over 8.84 lakh. Taking into account the 2019 elector population in the City, the total fully vaccinated in the State Capital then stood at around 88 percent of the population. This shows Bhubaneswar has achieved herd immunity.

Will Vaccination Wall Withstand Third Wave Attack?

Scientific evidence shows that herd immunity (seropositivity in over 80 percent population) will bat like 'the wall' against coronavirus attack. But the ground data in Bhubaneswar doesn't look that promising.

  • The rise in active caseload in the City to 2,892 on Aug 12 from 1103 on July 13 tells a bigger tale.
  • During the last one month, the daily new caseload added to the City's Covid graph had been a massive 8,750.
  • While in the first fortnight of the last month, the daily caseload added to the tally stood at 962, the number added during the second half of the month was 830. The numbers show a meagre drop in cases.
  • The Rt value is still hovering between 0.92 to 1.05.
  • The infection rate is still at around 0.13-0.15.
  • The test positive rate hovers between 5-2 per cent.

In the above context, after achieving a fully vaccination status of over 88 percent or say accomplishing the herd immunity status in the City, data shows the Third wave may not strike the State Capital as dangerously as the Second wave. However, the caveat here is City denizens have to live up with the Covid appropriate behaviour.

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