Large portion of high risk population in India missed second dose: Expert

Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), Nov 9 : Alarming the fact that a large portion of the high-risk population of India has missed the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Naresh Purohit, Advisor-National Immunisation Programme said that 40 % of elders above 60 years (exact figure 11,04,55,016) have not yet taken the second dose and only 6.78-odd crore of them have received both the doses.
Dr Purohit, the renowned Epidemiologist, said that the vaccination process in the country has slowed down and there is no data available about the reasons.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) , the vaccination slowed down in Diwali week to 2.42 crore as against four crore the previous week, he said this drop is close to a half and may not be really surprising considering many people would have been on leave and travelling.
WHO- Covid19 technical lead Dr Purohit stated that it is a well-known fact that the Coronavirus is most damaging for the elderly and more so for those with co-morbidities among them. This section with only one dose will be the most vulnerable if the country were to witness a fresh pandemic wave. Even in the 14-44 age group, the percentage of those who received the second dose is much less.
He averred that forty-two crore first doses have been given to this segment in comparison to 14.89 crore second doses.
Acclaimed Infectious Disease Expert Dr Purohit pointed that it is this group that is most affected by vaccine hesitancy and vaccine complacency. The 45-59 per cent age group has fared comparatively better about the second dose.
Experts in the webinar said that people missing their second dose in a fresh wave of vaccine hesitancy is an alarming sign. It is nearly certain that if December 31 is the Government’s chosen deadline by which to vaccinate all eligible adults, then that target is most likely to be missed.
Experts emphasised that the government should more vigorously campaign to draw people to the vaccination centres. The immediate focus should be on the vulnerable sections. Those who have consciously missed out on the second dose need convincing.
They suggested that employers should come up with penalties if the staff is knowingly delaying their second dose. The ‘House To House’ campaign should literally knock at doors to get hesitant and complacent to the vaccination centres.


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