Why precautionary dose coverage is low in Delhi

Experts and Delhi district officials say beneficiaries have stayed away from the precautionary dose due to reduced number of hospitalizations and deaths reported in the third wave and an uncertificated third dose certificate. necessary for travel. Of the 1.8 crore people who received their first doses in Delhi, only 19.56 lakh received a third precautionary dose, bringing dose coverage to just 10.7% in the capital.

That’s even higher than the 5.6% who took the third dose nationally, according to data from the CoWIN portal. To increase the numbers, the The center has launched a 75-day campaign to provide a free precautionary dose to all adults. It was previously available free of charge at government centers for priority groups such as healthcare workers, frontline workers and people aged over 60.

The Delhi government makes precautionary dose free for all adults soon after the Center opened plans for them in April resulted in better coverage than the national average, especially in younger age groups. Of the total precautionary doses administered in Delhi, 55.6% were in people aged 18-59, compared to 19.4% of the precautionary doses administered in this group nationwide.

CM Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday urged all adults in the city to get their precautionary dose free from government dispensaries and mohalla clinics. “Only 10% of those who took the second dose received the precautionary dose. We need to increase that number for our health and safety,” he said.

Low hospitalizations, no need for certificates

Fewer hospitalizations and deaths resulting from Covid infection during and after the third wave has led to a perception of low risk among people. This, coupled with the fact that many people contract the infection even after being vaccinated, has led to a drop in uptake.

An Eastern District official said: “Not only are people seeing that the disease is milder, but they have also seen people getting the infection even after two doses. This is why fewer people are coming to be vaccinated, despite a door-to-door campaign.

The low participation rate is also the result of the lack of a requirement for a third dose certificate for travel and other activities. “We’ve seen more people get vaccinated when there’s a big spike. Now that few cases are being reported, most people are going about their daily lives. In addition, it is no longer necessary to have a vaccination certificate to travel from one state to another. Even when traveling outside India, most of the time a two-dose certificate is required and even an RT-PCR is accepted instead of a vaccine certificate,” said an official from the South District. East.

In fact, people from poorer backgrounds lag behind on precautionary doses, the Eastern District official said. “Uptake has been better when we organize vaccination camps in settlements with the help of RWAs, especially at weekends, as it gives people time to recover from any fever or pain at the site of But when we run camps in slums and other places where daily wage laborers live, with the help of ASHA workers, the turnout hasn’t been great. running out of work to get vaccinated,” the official said, adding that for the first and second doses, there was also pressure from factories and other employers to get workers vaccinated.

Reminder vs precaution

The name of the third dose alone could have resulted in lower coverage, said the head of the department of community medicine at Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Jugal Kishore: “The term booster dose is better recognized by people. If your immunity decreases, you strengthen it. The precautionary dose does not have the same meaning. This, coupled with multiple news stories about reactions caused by vaccines – regardless of their percentage – leads to negative perceptions about vaccines.

He added: “People are also afraid to get vaccinated when they are healthy, especially when the number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations are also low.”

Dr Suneela Garg, Professor of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College and a member of the Lancet Commission on Covid-19 in India, said: “Uptake of the precautionary dose has been slow across the country, not just in India. Delhi. Just 1% of people aged 18-59 and around 26% over 60 had received the vaccine before the government’s current 75-day campaign. Now we are also seeing fewer hospitalizations and deaths as people are vaccinated and have also been exposed to the infection, but we are seeing cases go up and down as the vaccines that were made using the virus from origin are not very effective against newer variants. However, there should be repeated good information campaigns to improve vaccination, as well as other Covid-appropriate behaviors.

Mohalla Clinics

To ensure vaccination close to people’s homes, the government has also started administering Covid vaccines at mohalla clinics across the city, with at least 10 centers operating in each district, according to a health department official. About half of these centers offer vaccines in “camp mode”, with local beneficiaries being invited to present themselves, while the others publish the number of slots available online for pre-booking on the CoWIN portal.

Almost all mohalla clinics, except eight to ten, will carry out Covid vaccination campaigns on Wednesdays and Fridays, when routine vaccination at government clinics leads to fewer Covid-19 vaccines being administered. “The mandate of the ad hoc vaccinators who worked in our camps and school sites has been extended until September. They will transport vaccines from cold chain points – or dispensaries to which mohalla clinics are linked,” the official said.

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Explained: big step

The vaccination against Covid-19 offered in the mohalla clinics is important because since the launch of the project in 2015, none of the clinics – with the exception of the first in Peeragarhi which has permanent staff – have been vaccinated from any way. With a single doctor and pharmacist and a multi-skilled worker running the clinics, most did not have a vaccinator to provide the service.

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