COVID-19: How states are ensuring people get their second doses
As economic activities have mostly resumed across the country, state governments are putting all efforts to ensure people get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. With a decline in COVID-19 infections, states are concerned that people will become complacent about getting vaccinated. Thus, they are using multiple tricks, from WhatsApp messages to drumbeat announcements, to remind people to get their second dose.
Frequent reminders sent to people to take second dose: Report
Speaking to the officials of over 10 states, CNN-News18 reported that state governments are reminding people to get their second doses through various means such as call centers, ASHA workers, etc. In Bihar, government officials said they are providing exclusive sites to people for second doses. Officials of Meghalaya and Ladakh said they are working with Anganwadi workers and Gram Panchayats for the same.
Bihar launching aggressive campaigns to encourage people
Meanwhile, Bihar has launched an aggressive campaign named "Ek Adhoora, Doosra Poora (one's incomplete; two's complete)" to educate people about the importance of the second dose. The campaign uses colorful pictures—such as a bicycle with one wheel, a pair of scissors with one edge—for vaccine awareness. "The idea is to educate people that vaccination is incomplete without both doses," an official told CNN-News18.
Hill states using religious places to create awareness
In hill states such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, officials said that religious places have been roped in to spread awareness. "We have been using mosques, temples, and other religious places to remind people to get both doses," an official of the National Health Mission in Uttarakhand said. In certain areas in Himachal, drumbeats are used to announce important decisions, an official told CNN-News18.
What did officials say about people's complacent behavior?
Sanjay Singh of Bihar's State Health Society said they have noticed people becoming reluctant to stand in long queues for a second shot. A Meghalaya official said people who have faced side effects are not willing to get their second doses; and neither are their families or neighbors. The people who developed a COVID-19 infection after getting their first jab are also hesitant.
Long interval between Covishield doses a concern: Officials
Separately, a majority of states across India are concerned about the long interval between Covishield doses (12-16 weeks), CNN-News18 reported. "The interval between two doses of Covishield...is quite long for beneficiaries to remember...as they get involved in routine day-to-day activities," said Dr. Bijay Panigrahy, the Director of Family Welfare in Odisha. Officials of Haryana and Punjab also expressed similar concerns.
'People confused about dose gaps; interval keeps widening'
An official at National Health Mission in Haryana also said, "People are confused about the interval...they keep postponing endlessly." "In urban areas, several beneficiaries cite random studies that found the dosage gap extending till one year." In rural areas, the official said, "People just forget or become reluctant." Haryana's coverage for the first dose stands at 79% whereas the second dose coverage is 28%.