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‘We set up vaccination camps in ration shops’

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on October 21, 2021

UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma   -  The Hindu

UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma on how the State maximised its vaccination coverage

With 12.08 crore vaccinations, Uttar Pradesh is the biggest contributor to India’s 100 crore milestone, although being the most populous State, 38 per cent of its population still needs to be vaccinated. During the second wave shock the State government faced a lot of flak for lack of oxygen and healthcare, under-vaccination and high Covid-related deaths, with reports of bodies floating in the rivers, but the administration has decidedly collected itself.

UP has now vaccinated 62 per cent of its adult population. Of the total 12.08 crore vaccinations, about 9.35 crore have received their first dose while 2.72 crore are double-vaccinated. In an interview with BusinessLine, UP Power Minister Shrikant Sharma talked about how the State maximised its vaccination coverage. Excerpts:

You have come a long way, but even now only 62 per cent of the population has received first dose…

We are number one in vaccination. You’re right about the percentage of population covered, but in terms of sheer quantum of the population, you have to give us credit. We are talking about vaccinating over 12 crore people.

This took a lot of effort because we had to overcome a lot of vaccine hesitancy. But that is all in the past. We are quite satisfied with the pace now.

How did you expand coverage?

We set up vaccination camps in ration shops. Besides permanent vaccination centres, there are these camps in areas where we noticed vaccine hesitancy or logistical issues. For instance, daily-wage workers and agricultural labourers lose their wages if they spend a day for the vaccination. So, we set up camps near their workplaces to make them more accessible.

Tell me a little bit about the structural/logistical aspects of this exercise.

CMO is the nodal agency which collects the data about doctors, health workers, resident welfare associations, social/religious organisations that would be required to run these camps. In every Vidhan Sabha, there is a certain number of centres that needs to be run daily. Besides that, there are these mobile camps, for which we first make an assessment of the number of vaccination, staff, doctors/nurses required and, if there is a requirement to this effect, hold awareness camps before vaccination.

Does this require monitoring at a political level?

Each Minister and MLA is monitoring his own constituency, and is involved in supervising the mobile camps. I have two districts, besides my own constituency, where I personally supervise vaccination. We are a large State and we had problems, but that is a thing of the past.

Published on October 21, 2021

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