Latest Covid-19 statistics paint a negative picture for the UT administration, as Chandigarh has been placed in the league of states and UTs where vaccination coverage is less than 30% and weekly Covid positivity rate is higher than the national average.
According to the figures released by the Union health ministry on Thursday, only 22.5% vaccination coverage has taken place in Chandigarh so far, while positive cases versus tests carried out in the week gone by are 2.1% against the national average of 1.8%.
“We are conducting almost 35,000 Covid-19 tests in a month, which has brought down the positivity rate from 20% last year to 2% now. We are satisfied with the testing as infection rate has gone down substantially,” Dr Amandeep Kang, director of health services, Chandigarh said.
In all, so far over 2,20,000 tests have been conducted in Chandigarh and over 21,000 people have tested positive for the infection.
On the poor vaccination coverage, UT health secretary Arun Gupta said, “The respective departments are trying their best to educate and cover all beneficiaries, but reluctance among workers remains.”
Officials working on the ground said despite a number of steps taken by the authorities, including counselling sessions and discussions to counter hesitancy among workers, most were not willing to be vaccinated.
“We have started long-term counselling sessions for the health workers and are utilising all resources to encourage them to take the jab. The department heads are meeting every employee to come forward,” said Dr Kang.
According to Dr Rajesh Kumar, former head of the community medicine department at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, reluctance about new vaccines has always been a problem and correct information and long-term counselling are the possible ways out.
“As threat perception regarding Covid has decreased, low turnout for vaccines may be its fallout. We surely need a better communication strategy to motivate the beneficiaries to take the shot. As time passes, more people will come forward,” Dr Kumar added.
Below 40% turnout for second day in a row
Less than 40% of the targeted beneficiaries turned up for Covid-19 vaccine for the second consecutive day on Thursday, even as vaccination sessions have been started for the frontline workers from the municipal corporation (MC) and police department.
Against the target of 1,002, only 383 people (38.2%) were inoculated on Thursday. Among them, 344 were health professionals, 20 police employees and 19 from MC. On Wednesday, against the 1,004 people expected, only 314 (31%) were vaccinated.