Rural Karnataka trails urban areas in administering vaccine | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Even as the second Covid-19 wave has shown early signs of ebbing, the spread of the disease into villages and ower vaccination numbers in rural areas points to a potential crisis there.
According to health department officials, of 1.3 crore doses of vaccine administered in the state so far, only 35 percent have been given to the rural population. Only those above 60 years have been given vaccines in villages and around 60 per cent are yet to get the second dose. People in the 45-60 age are hardly covered, he added.
Doctors and staff of many primary health centres told TOI the drive has slowed down over the past month in villages due to shortage. “We have not got the supply for the past 20 days,” said a health worker at a PHC in Savadatti taluk in Belagavi district.
Some PHCs have been receiving a maximum of 10-12 vials a week. (One vial contains 10 doses.) Earlier, when there was no demand, there was sufficient supply. Now that people want to get vaccinated, there is no supply. “As a result, we’re facing people’s ire,” said a government doctor in Ballari.
“The CoWin portal shows that various PHCs have vaccines. But, in reality, there is no stock at all. People directed to our PHC get angry when they hear there is no stock and start arguing with us,” said another doctor in Davanagere.
There are also reports that vaccine hesitancy among rural populace, specially in backward districts, is leading to poor vaccination record. After reports of a few deaths in recent months in villages, things are improving and people are volunteering to take vaccines, health department officials said. The slow pace is proving to be a hindrance. “For the government, villages are the last priority. We have to wait more than 15 days to get an RT-PCR result, forget about getting timely treatment. Now, in vaccination too, we’re again neglected,” said some angry villagers.
Health commissioner KV Trilokchandra, however, said vaccines are supplied to cities and villages as per availability. He said the department has no data of urban and rural beneficiaries.
RDPR minister KS Eshwarappa said there’s no discrimination in vaccination drives. “The problem is largely because of shortage. Supply is expected to improve with Serum Institute of India ramping up production and new vaccines coming into the market,’’ he added.

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Sagar Biswas

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