The Centre has flagged Tamil Nadu and Kerala over their poor vaccine coverage of their priority group at less than 25 per cent and has directed them to engage with healthcare workers to build vaccine confidence, The Indian Express has learnt.
“During the video conferencing that is held every day, both Tamil Nadu and Kerala told us that they found varying amounts of vaccine hesitancy among their health care workers,” a top government source, part of the team monitoring the vaccination drive, told The Indian Express.
Top government sources said that during its review meetings with the states, the Centre has also highlighted two other states — Punjab and Chhattisgarh – over their “poor coverage” in vaccinating its priority group.
“We have told these states to engage with these healthcare workers. After all, the vaccine hesitancy is not going to go away if the state government is not going to engage with the beneficiaries and communicate the facts,” sources said the four states were told.
Sources said that it was further highlighted that the Indian Medical Association (IMA), most of whose top officials hail from Tamil Nadu, has “given a call that the 3.5 lakh members would be willingly taking the vaccine”.
Sources said that during the review meeting, the success of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana — all of which have reported an impressive 70 per cent coverage — was highlighted to other states.
“In Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, extensive planning has gone into executing the vaccination drive. In each session site, the health department of the state government has sat with the medical superintendent, the director, or the principal of the medical college. These states have had detailed discussions on the communication especially building vaccine confidence. They have gone beyond just issuing directions,” sources said the states were told.
In fact, sources pointed out, Andhra Pradesh, due to its robust immunization infrastructure, has decided to hold sessions six days a week.
According to official data, on the first day, Tamil Nadu held 161 sessions and vaccinated only 2,945 beneficiaries, Kerala held 133 sessions and vaccinated 8,062 beneficiaries, Chhattisgarh held 97 sessions and vaccinated 5,592 beneficiaries, while Punjab held 59 sessions and vaccinated only 1,319 beneficiaries.
However, Andhra Pradesh on day 1 held 332 sessions and vaccinated 18,412 beneficiaries, Karnataka held 242 sessions and vaccinated 13,594 beneficiaries, while Telangana held 140 sessions and vaccinated 3,653 beneficiaries
On Monday, while the details of the sessions were not provided, Tamil Nadu vaccinated 7, 628 beneficiaries, Kerala vaccinated 7,070 beneficiaries, Chhattisgarh vaccinated 4,459 beneficiaries, and Punjab vaccinated 1,882 beneficiaries.
On the same day, Andhra Pradesh vaccinated 9,758 beneficiaries, Karnataka vaccinated 36,888 beneficiaries, while Telangana vaccinated 10,352 beneficiaries.