Only 40% of degree college students vaccinated
The July 7 deadline for government degree and aided college students as well as staff to receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is barely two days away, but more than half of those in the 18-44 age group are yet to receive their jab.
According to data provided by the Department of Collegiate Education as on July 3, only 41.16% of the total 5.2 lakh students and staff have been vaccinated.
Given that it is unlikely for the remaining students and staff to get their shot, the government in all likelihood will extend the deadline. Only after students are vaccinated will colleges and universities open their campuses to students. The date for reopening of degree colleges is yet to be finalised.
Around 40.06 % of the total 4.9 lakh students in government and aided colleges have been vaccinated. Among teaching and non-teaching staff, the percentage is higher at 59.79% of the total 29,241.
Pradeep P., commissioner, Department of Collegiate Education, estimated that the number of people who have been vaccinated is higher. These figures include students and staff who were vaccinated in camps conducted by the State government across college campuses. “There may be students who got their vaccine from other health facilities outside the drives conducted by colleges. We will ask colleges to collect that data as well so that we get the actual percentage of students and staff who are vaccinated,” he said.
While the State government has clarified that it is not mandatory for students to be vaccinated to attend offline classes, many colleges have told students that they should take the vaccine failing which they will not be allowed to attend classes. “We are stating that getting a jab is mandatory. We want to ensure there is no risk to any student or staff member when colleges reopen,” said a college principal.
However, shortage of vaccines remains a problem. Many college managements and universities claimed that they could not conduct drives on the scale they wanted to due to lack of stock.
In Hassan district, many colleges did not have information on when a drive would be conducted for their students. Depending on daily availability of vaccines, taluk health officers decide which college students would be vaccinated, said sources.
In Mysuru, drives conducted by colleges in coordination with the Health Department are seeing a good response. There were long queues of students as many could not manage to get the jab outside. Some colleges in the district have set a target of getting their students vaccinated by July 15 hoping.
Health officials claimed the drive was underway smoothly and there was no dearth of vaccines for inoculating students.
(With inputs from Sathish G.T. in Hassan and Shankar Bennur in Mysuru)