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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha has achieved success in vaccinating over 85% of beneficiaries, several health care workers and frontline warriors are yet to take the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The pull- back syndrome shown by many corona warriors in Odisha has not gone down well with  the State Health Department.

Taking the lukewarm response from the health care and frontline workers seriously, the Odisha government has decided to crack the whip.

On Tuesday, Additional Chief Secretary PK Mohapatra shot off a letter to all Collectors, Municipal Commissioners of 5 civic bodies, including Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, directing them to take measures for vaccinating the left out health care and frontline workers in their respective area limits.

Simultaneously, the State government has also warned the health care and frontline workers that they will not be entitled to get any government benefits if they don't get themselves vaccinated.

In the letter, Mohapatra wrote, “It is directed that all health care workers and frontline workers, who have registered for vaccination but are wilfully refusing the same without any genuine grounds (of a contra-indication condition) will henceforth cease to enjoy the privileges granted by the Government in case of COVID infection, namely: free treatment, period of isolation / treatment being counted as duty, financial and other benefits in case of death etc.”

Though Odisha is in 3rd position with regards to COVID-19 vaccination of health and frontline workers at the national level,  it has been observed that despite repeated instructions and opportunities given, a few registered health care and frontline workers have failed to turn to take their  first dose.

“Our State has claimed COVID vaccine doses from the Government of India as per the numbers of HCWs & FLWs registered for vaccination. If we don't fully utilize the vaccines allocated to us, we will be missing out on a critical opportunity to fight the pandemic. Further, those HCWs & FLWs who remain unvaccinated put both their community and their workplace at risk of COVID transmission,” wrote Mohapatra.

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