Despite achieving 100% first dose coverage, Bengaluru Urban still administering first doses
On August 30, Bengaluru Urban (excluding BBMP) became the first district in Karnataka to achieve 100% first dose vaccination coverage. It had also topped the list of districts with the highest second dose coverage. According to data from the State Health and Family Welfare Department, 28.2% of the 10,62,262 population in this district had been fully vaccinated till August 30.
However, a fortnight after achieving 100% first dose coverage, the district continues to administer first doses and as of Wednesday, 11,15,135 people had received the first dose. This is 52,873 persons over and above the target population of 10,62,262.
If 100% first dose coverage was achieved a fortnight ago, why are vaccination centres in this district continuing to see people seeking the first dose? While officials attributed this to the floating population and people from neighbouring districts and BBMP getting vaccinated in Bengaluru Urban vaccination centres, the variation is because the current target population has been extrapolated on the basis of the 2011 census data.
Sources said this will lead to variations and inaccuracy in vaccination coverage data. “Instead of considering a decade-old census data as the base for target population, the State should have conducted a survey to ascertain the current target population. Depending on 2011 figures will skew our coverage data,” sources said.
Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission, said although the base population is as per the 2011 census data, projections have been made by the State Department of Planning and Statistics for the 2021 population. “In the absence of 2021 census data, minor variations are bound to be there,” she said, adding that the aim is to vaccinate every adult in the State.
Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said the first dose vaccination in Bengaluru Urban may have exceeded the eligible adult population of 10,62,262 due to many reasons. “Firstly, the floating population is generally not part of the population numbers. Secondly, it is possible that people from neighbouring districts may have taken vaccines in Bengaluru Urban district,” he said.
Admitting that the target population numbers are only an estimate of the 2011 census, the Minister said: “Any variation that may occur will be minimal. This will be the same case with all districts that will complete 100% vaccination.”
Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner J. Manjunath said that as Bengaluru Urban has many industrial areas, people who are not residents of Bengaluru Urban, would have opted to get vaccinated at their workplaces. “There is no bar on people from adjoining districts getting vaccinated in Bengaluru Urban. Our aim is to cover everyone,” he said.
“Also, as our district has achieved 100% coverage, people from adjoining districts think that it is easier to get vaccinated in Bengaluru Urban centres. Our staff have been conducting a door to door survey to ascertain the health and vaccination status of people in the district. A lot of effort has gone into achieving 100% coverage,” he said. “Steady decline in the number of new cases in Bengaluru Urban is proof of the success in vaccination coverage,” he argued.