The figure includes beneficiaries of the first dose of both Covaxin and Covishield, the prescribed duration of the second dose of which are 28-42 days and 84-112 days, respectively, the study conducted in 23 districts and five health districts of the state showed.
"Close to 18 lakh people have not appeared for the second dose. It's a very serious matter," a senior health department official told PTI.
Hooghly topped the list of people who are yet to take the second dose of the jab (1,40,403), while the lowest count was in Kalimpong (11,746), he said, quoting the survey.
“There are many who passed away before their scheduled second dose, while some contracted the virus after the first shot and could not proceed for the next dose,” the official said.
Quite a few of them also changed their mobile numbers after the initial dose and could not be traced, he added. Another official said a large number of labourers who went to other states in search of employment, after the lockdown norms were relaxed, added to the number of people missing out on the second dose.
"Several frontline workers and officials, including central forces, who had arrived in the state during the assembly elections earlier this year and inoculated here, left before taking the second dose. This also added to the tally of those who skipped the second shot,” he said.
State Family Welfare Officer Ashim Das Malakar has directed the officials concerned to call on the mobile numbers of individuals who have not turned up for the second dose. The health department has also decided to send field workers to visit the homes of such beneficiaries to find out the reason behind the delay in taking the subsequent dose.
“I can tell you that those who have not come up for the second dose during the stipulated time period can still get jabbed. There is nothing to worry about,” the official said.
A total of 6,14,43,875 people have been inoculated in the state with at least one dose of the Covid vaccine till date.
With PTI inputs.