A dip in the turnout for Covid-19 vaccination within four days after the drive started in Rajasthan has led to chief minister Ashok Gehlot issuing an appeal to health workers, asking them to come forward without any hesitation.
According to the data submitted by the Rajasthan health department, till January 19, around 32,379 health workers have received the vaccine, whereas the target was of 49,131. The vaccination drive across the state has witnessed a dip. The data suggest that the first day of vaccination saw maximum takers with a record of 73 per cent. However, the percentage dipped to 68 per cent on day 2 and sunk to 54 per cent on day 3.
Interestingly, from the past two days, the health department has stopped sharing vaccination data updates in the health bulletin WhatsApp group.
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The state has a target to get at least 80,000 health workers vaccinated. Worrying about the low participation of health workers, the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday requested health workers to show enthusiasm and get themselves vaccinated. "I appeal to health workers to come forward and get vaccinated," Gehlot tweeted. In another tweet, he said, “The health workers are coming out in fewer numbers because of the war of words between the two vaccine manufacturers. Bharat Biotech has released the guidelines now. Had it done the same thing before, it would have increased the trust in the vaccine.”
Health workers prefer Covishield over Covaxin
"The health workers have apprehensions and they cross-check in case they are getting Covaxin shots. They prefer Covishield over Covaxin. The enthusiasm is slow but it will build up,” Dr Ajeet Bagra, former president of Jaipur Association of Resident Doctors, told Outlook.
Rajasthan has so far received around 5.63 lakh vaccine doses from two companies which include Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech. While Rajasthan is majorly using Covishield vaccine, only 20,000 doses of Covaxin have arrived in the state.
"So far the vaccination drive is going well in the state. However, there has been resentment from health workers in other cities where they are resisting vaccination. This could be a reason for the dip in the turnout,” Dr Narendra Gupta of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan told Outlook.
So far, the side effects have been recorded in 44 health workers in the state.
However, reacting to the apprehensions of doctors or health workers, Sudhir Bhandari, the principal of Jaipur’s SMS Medical College who was the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine in the state, said, “There is no difference between Covaxin and Covishield. We hope the enthusiasm builds up and doctors and health workers come forward to get vaccinated.”
In Rajasthan, as many as 167 vaccination centres have been established. Each centre is equipped to serve around 100 beneficiaries.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot launched the statewide vaccination drive on Saturday. During the launch, Gehlot interacted with doctors and stressed that Covid-19 protocol should be maintained across the state.
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