Guwahati, July 20: The daily jabs of the booster dose in Assam have gone up more than 10 times after the government started the free jab drive for the 18-plus population in government Covid vaccination centres (CVCs) last Friday.
Health department officials said from a mere 7,000 to 8,000 booster doses were administered daily on an average a month ago, and the corresponding figure in the state has augmented to around 90,000 in the last couple of days.
While health officials earlier blamed reluctance on the part of the people as the reason behind the slow vaccination rate, they said the inoculation number gained momentum mainly due to fear of the virus.
“The fast-spreading virus seems to be the main reason why people are rushing to the vaccination centres now. We appeal to people to take the precaution dose at the earliest. A smooth flow to the CVCs, immediately after a person becomes eligible for booster dose, is necessary to ensure that the vaccination centres don’t become overcrowded,” said Kamaljit Talukdar, Assam director of health services (family welfare).
Data furnished by the state health department stated that 89,968 booster doses were administered on Monday, while the corresponding figure touched 89,161 by 4 pm on Tuesday.
A month ago, on June 20, a total of 9,400 booster doses were administered in the state and the beneficiaries mostly included 60-plus citizens, and frontline and healthcare workers. Even as 18-plus people could avail the booster dose in private hospitals at that time, health officials said the response was low.
Kamrup (Metro) district immunisation officer BK Das said from about 1,500 precaution doses administered daily, the number has increased to over 6,000 in the state capital after the launch of the ongoing drive last Friday. “An estimated 70% of the beneficiaries, who are now taking the precaution dose in Guwahati, are in the 18 to 59 age group,” he said.
A government release said the state had a target to vaccinate over 1.5 crore eligible beneficiaries with the precaution dose on the launch date last week.
On January 10, the government rolled out the booster dose for the 60-plus with comorbidities along with the frontline and healthcare workers.
From March 16, however, all 60-plus citizens, irrespective of comorbidities, were covered. From April 10, the booster dose was made available for the age group between 18 and 59 years but in private facilities.