The Health department in Odisha appears to be in a fix now following the palpable hesitancy shown by a majority of the vaccine recipients to take the second dose of Covid-19 jabs on their scheduled due dates.
Director, Health Services Bijay Panigrahi on Friday said that though reminders are being sent to such beneficiaries, whose second doses are due, they are unwilling to get inoculated.
However, Panigrahi was quick to clarify that the hesitancy is not deliberate but borne out of forgetfulness about the second dose.
He said there was no shortage of vaccines as the State currently has a stock of around 27.52 lakh doses of Covishield and 1.08 lakh doses of Covaxin vaccines.
According to Panigrahi, over 2.67 crore people have been vaccinated so far in Odisha. Out of this, around 1.98 crore people (64 % beneficiaries) have been administered the first dose of Covisheild and Covaxin vaccines in the State. The second dose has been administered to 68 lakh citizens in the State so far.
“As there is a gap of nearly 12 to 16 weeks between the first and second dose of Covisheild vaccine, many people are forgetting the scheduled date.
We are reminding them by sending SMSes. The reminders are sent three days prior to the due date for the second dose inoculations,” said Panigrahi.
The Health Services Director further said that reminders are also sent to the beneficiaries on the day of vaccination as well.
“We have instructed officials at the district level to prepare a list of beneficiaries who have either missed their second dose or their second dose is due. The frontline health workers will encourage and facilitate such beneficiaries to take their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine,” Panigrahi added.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Directorate of Medical Education & Training (DMET) in Odisha, CBK Mohanty today said that three the months of the festive season will be crucial in the ongoing fight against Covid-19 in the State.
“There are chances of crowding during the festive season and people should strictly follow the Covid appropriate behaviour. Awareness among people holds key as already the vaccination drive has been intensified in Odisha,” said Mohanty.
On rise of Covid-19 infection cases in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Mohanty said the big cities are the health and commercial hub of the State and there is constant inflow of large number of people from all over the State and country to these places.