Covid-19: Vaccine hesitancy forces Bengal to conduct door-to-door surveys; 21.8 lakh people due for second dose

The state reported 725 fresh Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths in the last 24 hours. (File)

Vaccine hesitancy among a section of the population has forced the West Bengal government to conduct door-a-door surveys to identify people due for their second Covid-19 shot and inoculate them.

According to West Bengal Health Department data, around 13 lakh people are due for their second dose of Covaxin and another 8.8 lakh people for Covishield. The gap between the two doses of Covaxin, developed jointly by the Indian Council of Medical Research and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is 28 days. The gap for Covishield, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured in the country by Serum Institute of India, is 84 days.

On Friday, Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi chaired a meeting with district magistrates and directed them to prepare a list of people eligible for the second dose. The development comes at a time when West Bengal has been reporting around 700-800 daily Covid-19 caseload additions.

Dwivedi expressed concern that many people were unwilling to take the second dose and asked district officials to prepare a plan. It was suggested during the meeting that health workers visit the houses of people due for their second dose, a source told The Indian Express.

The Health Department data showed most of the people unwilling to take the second dose among the 21.8 lakh people are from Kolkata and North 24 Parganas districts.

A health official told The Indian Express that the names of several people who had already been jabbed with the first dose were not appearing in the portal due to discrepancies in phone numbers or ID cards.

The official said a door-to-door search would be undertaken to solve the problem.

Additionally, health workers will also visit the houses of bedridden people and unvaccinated elderly. West Bengal has inoculated 6.10 crore people with one dose and another 2.56 crore with both doses.

The state reported 725 fresh Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths in the last 24 hours. West Bengal’s total caseload currently stands at 609,118 while the death toll is at 19,376. The state has 8,045 active cases.

In terms of recoveries, 775 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to 98.30% with total recoveries at 1,581,697.

The Health Department remains concerned by caseload additions in Kolkata, South and North 24 Parganas, Howrah, and Hooghly districts, an official told The Indian Express. These districts reported 505 of the 725 fresh cases. The state has tested 36,117 samples since Friday.

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