Omicron gets people in line for 2nd dose in Karnataka

Omicron scare lengthens queues for second dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Karnataka

The data also shows that those who had never received vaccines are also coming forward for the shot

People queue up to receive Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Bengaluru. Credit:DH Photo

News of the Omicron variant has been creating long lines of people queuing up to get the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Among those turning up for vaccinations are scores of ordinary people asking about booster shots, officials said, adding, however, that data also shows that those who had never taken vaccine are also coming forward for the shot. Before November 26 about 25 per cent of people getting a vaccine were people who wanted a first dose. Now, that percentage has shot up to 31 per cent.

“People are coming forward in large numbers,” said Dr Arundhathi Chandrashekar, Director, National Health Mission. “It is a trend that we saw even during the second wave, when the infections prompted massive numbers of people to come forward for vaccinations, which at the time, even triggered a shortfall in supplies.” 

She added that just a week ago, the state’s daily dosage amounts were just about 1.5 lakh per day, but now the daily numbers are about 5 lakh doses per day. “Even on Sunday, September 28, we did over 2.58 lakh doses, which is unprecedented. We have never crossed two lakh doses on a Sunday since September 19,” she said.

The state is said to have 85 lakh doses in storage at present and is are getting about two lakh doses every two or three days.

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But the situation in Bengaluru is a bit more ambiguous according to Dr Balasundar A S, Chief Health Officer (CHO), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). According to Co-WIN, the daily dosage figures have been steadily climbing ever since news of the Omicron variant started to make headlines worldwide. On November 22, for example, 35,315 doses were administered. However, on Tuesday, over 69,000 doses were administered.

“Nevertheless, much of the increase is because of our efforts to enlist vaccine-takers in public spaces, malls….etc,” Dr Balasundar said. “There is fear of the Omicron but not to the level where people are coming to us in droves to get the second dose.”

The Chief Health Officer (CHO) added people also seem not to have understood the value of vaccinations from a preventative point of view.

“We are still finding large amounts of complacency in the population about the second dose. But the facts speak for themselves when it comes to hospitalizations. Out of 100 cases of vaccinated people with Covid-19, nearly 98 per cent can do home isolation, however, out of 100 cases of unvaccinated, 15 per cent end up in hospital and not just any bed, but ICU beds,” he said. 

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