15L health workers not fully jabbed even after 9 months

15 lakh healthcare workers yet to be fully vaccinated even after nine months

As on September 30, around 85 per cent of the healthcare workers received two shots

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

Even after nine months, India is yet to fully vaccinate its healthcare workers, the first group prioritised by the government when it rolled out the Covid-19 vaccination drive in January.

As on September 30, around 85 per cent of the healthcare workers received two shots. Considering more than a crore of such workers got the first dose, it means close to 15 lakh doctors, nurses and paramedical workers did not receive the second shot, though they work in a high-risk environment.

A month ago, on August 26, the corresponding number stood at 83 per cent.

"There are certain specific states where the second dose coverage among the healthcare workers is on the lower side. We have drawn their attention and provided a facility in the Co-WIN system where line listing of people who have missed their second dose can be generated,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Thursday.

Read: Centre says needle-free ZyCoV-D to be introduced in Covid vaccination drive shortly

The states, he said, are looking at the list of defaulting individuals to ensure the second dose is administered on time as the festive season coming nearer.

Failure to vaccinate more than 15 lakh healthcare workers even now comes at a time when there is rising scientific evidence on the effectiveness of the two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to protect a person from the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is driving the pandemic in India.

There are also several studies on breakthrough infections (Covid-19 cases 14 days after receiving the second dose) among the hospital staff, who were saved from the serious disease because of the two shots.

When it comes to frontline workers, the percentage of fully vaccinated individuals rose from 79 per cent in end August to 82 per cent a month later. Also 100 per cent of frontline staff received the first dose as against 99 per cent healthcare workers.

Nearly 69 per cent of Indian adults have received the first dose, whereas a quarter of them are fully vaccinated. But the official vaccination data shows eastern India fares the worst to inoculate its residents as four of the seven states with less than 60 per cent first-dose coverage are the big ones on the east – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

These are also the states that are likely to see a spurt in crowd and mass gatherings during the Dasara-Diwali-Chhath festivals over the next one and half months.

Asked about Zydus Cadila's indigenously-developed needle-free three-dose vaccine ZyCoV-D, Bhushan said it would be introduced in the nationwide coronavirus vaccination drive shortly.

 

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