At 28%, vax coverage lowest in Punjab; shun hesitancy: Centre

Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine cleared for Phase-I clinical trials

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 19

India’s Covid-19 vaccine plan appears to have hit the hesitancy wall with Punjab reporting the worst beneficiary coverage (27.9%) and the Centre urging health workers to accept the shots and help build vaccine-induced herd immunity.

“Vaccine hesitancy among doctors and nurses is sad. It must stop. We appeal to health workers to accept the vaccines and help make the health system Covid-proof,” NITI Aayog member VK Paul said as India had vaccinated 6.31 lakh health workers by Tuesday, day three of the drive, with nine more adverse events reported.

Punjab with 27.9 per cent vaccine beneficiary coverage has emerged as the worst alongside Tamil Nadu with 34.9 per cent and Puducherry with 34.6 per cent coverage. “We are in touch with these states to encourage them to pick up speed,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, noting that India’s vaccine coverage on the first three days was the best in the world in comparative terms but lower than the country’s own expectations.

The best performing states on vaccination coverage include Lakshadweep (89.3 pc), Sikkim (85.7 pc) and Odisha (82.6 pc).

Assuring that Covishield and Covaxin were safe, Paul said, “I took Covaxin at AIIMS and I have zero side-effects.” The government also said that among the vaccinated, adverse events were seen in just 0.18 pc cases as against 0.6 pc reported for the Pfizer vaccine abroad.

“The percentage of hospitalisation after immunisation in India is just 0.002 pc,” said Bhushan.

Export to 6 nations

The first vax batch will be airlifted to six countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal & Seychelles — on Thursday.

Cases at 7-month low

  • Daily cases at 10,000 after June 12
  • Active cases of infection down to 2,00,528 after 7 months
  • Daily death count less than 140 after eight months

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