K'taka among states with low rural vaccine coverage

Karnataka among southern states with low rural Covid-19 vaccine coverage

In Karnataka, 63% of Covid-19 vaccination centres are in villages, but only 46% of the doses have been administered

A health worker inoculate man with a dose of the Covishield vaccine against Covid-19 in Bengaluru. Credit: AFP Photo

Karnataka is among the states with the lowest rural Covid-19 vaccination coverage in south India, though a significant number of its vaccination centres are in rural areas, where the government seeks to expand the inoculation effort's protective umbrella ahead of an anticipated third wave.

In Karnataka, 63 per cent of Covid-19 vaccination centres are in villages, but only 46 per cent of the doses have been administered in those centres between May 1 and June 23, the Union Health Ministry said in an affidavit in the Supreme Court.

The ministry, in mid-May, released a standard operating procedure to improve the Covid-19 containment and management strategy in peri-urban and rural areas as the epidemic spread to these districts. Ensuring high vaccination coverage in rural areas was one of the pivotal strategies.

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But the data shared with the top court paint a different picture for several states. Telangana, for instance, administered only 34 per cent of doses in rural centres (37 per cent of Telangana vaccination centres are in rural areas), while Andhra Pradesh and Kerala used 63 per cent and 73 per cent of their doses respectively in such centres.

In Kerala, 60 per cent of the vaccination centres are located in the countryside, while the corresponding number for Andhra Pradesh is 53 per cent.

Tamil Nadu is marginally better than Karnataka, whereas Goa fared fairly well as the tiny coastal state administered 65 per cent of its vaccine doses in rural centres.

The ministry said out of 1,24,969 vaccination centres classified by the state governments as rural centres or urban centres so far, as many as 93,044 vaccination centres (74.45 per cent of them) are located in rural areas. More than 56 per cent of doses have been administered at the rural vaccination centers between May 1 and June 23.

Among better performing states are Himachal Pradesh (77%), Chhattisgarh (68%) and Bihar (64%), whereas Mizoram and Telangana are the worst performers as they delivered only 34 per cent of the doses in rural areas.

In tribal areas, according to the ministry, vaccination per million population is 2.19 lakhs, which is better than the national average of 2.13 lakh.

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