Thane city has managed to vaccinate only 4,468 in the 18-60 years’ age group with the booster dose. It has been a month since the private vaccination centres were allowed to vaccinate those in this age group with the booster dose.
Till mid-August last year, around 1.24 lakh beneficiaries were fully vaccinated in this age group. All of them are eligible to take the booster dose this month. Hardly, 4,468 beneficiaries have taken the booster dose in this age group, which is a mere 3.58%.
The response at vaccination centres is further diminishing as hardly 6.65% are in the 18-60 years’ age group out of the overall 67,175 booster dose beneficiaries till now.
Dr. Amol Gite, medical director, Siddhivinayak Hospital, Thane, said, “As the city has opened up and the Covid protocols are not mandatory anymore, people have stopped worrying about Covid and, hence, are not keen on paying for the vaccination. Moreover, during the third wave, there was a huge chunk of the population that got infected and healed through home quarantine. There is no more fear of the virus and this could be a prominent reason for not getting vaccinated.”
Many are travelling this month due to vacations and hence have postponed the vaccination.
Overall, Thane city has around 2.28 lakh beneficiaries who are eligible to get the booster dose and these include healthcare and frontline workers, and everyone from 18 years and above. From among these, merely 29.43% of the overall eligible population have taken the booster dose till now.
Despite the reopening of workplaces and educational institutions, the response among the 18-45 years’ age group continues to be very poor. “This age group has to get vaccinated through private centres. Our primary focus is to ensure that children get vaccinated and booster doses are administered to children and healthcare workers. We are creating awareness drives and surveys to encourage more to get vaccinated. However, this is a voluntary initiative,” said Dr. Prasad Patil, immunisation officer, Thane Municipal Corporation.
Aanchal Kamble, 52, a resident of Kolshet, said, “Our whole family was Covid positive in January during the peak of the third wave. As we cannot get vaccinated for three months post that, we were waiting all this while. Now, our children have made plans for a family outing this month, so we decided to get a booster dose after the trip. We were worried that we would fall ill due to the side effects of getting jabbed. But we asked our house help and driver to get vaccinated in the meantime, but they were reluctant as they have to pay and also approach a private hospital on their own.”
The Kambles will be taking their house help, driver and their families to get jabbed and shall pay for them too. “Only if everyone takes such an initiative will all of us be safer from the virus. Like us, there might be others who have not taken the booster dose as they are travelling or had contracted the virus a few months back,” added Kamble.