Misinformation, hesitancy take a toll on Covid vaccination drive

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2021

A health worker receives a dose of Covid -19 vaccine at a hospital in Guwahati on Thursday   -  AP

It’s paradoxical that other countries are asking for our vaccine, but here wrong info is being spread, says Health Minister

Close to one million persons, including nearly 193,000 on Thursday, have been vaccinated against Covid-19 despite the low turnout due to problems with the Co-WIN platform and vaccine hesitancy.

According to sources, the number of vaccinations on Thursday across the country was around 60 per cent of the target.

According to Health Ministry, the States that have managed to carry out maximum number of vaccinations were Odisha and Telangana which inoculated 26,558 and 26,441 health workers respectively. The total number of people vaccinated in the country since the beginning of the campaign on Saturday was 9,99,065 till 6 pm on Thursday. A total of 27 States and Union Territories carried out vaccinations on Thursday.

Public awareness

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry in an earnest effort to tackle vaccine hesitancy among the people launched an IEC (Information, Education and Communication) campaign to counter rumours and misinformation around the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. The campaign launched by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also stressed the crucial role that vaccines have in controlling infectious diseases, particularly those with pandemic potential like Covid-19.

The government also allowed more changes in the Co-WIN portal which schedules and tracks each and every Covid-19 vaccination in the country.

Apart from allowing beneficiaries to opt for change in vaccination site, the States can create more session sites as well as accommodate more sessions at any particular site, helping increase the coverage. Wednesday onwards, the Co-WIN platform was allowing States to manually add beneficiaries, who are already registered for the vaccination but scheduled to receive the shot at a later date.

Now there is also a provision in Co-WIN to plan and schedule sessions for the entire week as against just a day previously.

According to Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary in the Health Ministry, who briefed the media on the progress, there was no death reported on Thursday and there was only one hospitalisation which was reported in Geetanjali Medical College and Hospital at Udaipur in Rajasthan. The individual, who was vaccinated on Saturday last, suffered an intracranial haemorrhage on Tuesday requiring hospitalisation.

Earlier in the day unveiling the IEC posters, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said: “The paradox is that countries across the world are asking us for access to vaccines while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation and doubts for narrow political ends,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said while releasing these posters.

“Let us put a stop to these falsehoods,” Vardhan said urging people to seek correct information from authentic sources.

Published on January 21, 2021

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