‘Vaccinating all above 45 years a challenge’ | Bengaluru News – Times of India
A healthcare worker administers the vaccine to a senior citizen in Bengaluru.
BENGALURU: With the Centre allowing everyone above 45 years to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, experts say micromanagement of the drive will be necessary. So far, nearly 3.6 lakh people between 45 and 59 years with comorbidities have taken the first dose in Karnataka.
Experts say a quarter of the population is above 45 years of age and to vaccinate all is a challenge especially in rural areas, high density population pockets and slums.
Dr Giridhara R Babu, epidemiologist, technical advisory committee member, said: “This requires a phenomenal movement, far more than that required for pulse polio campaigns or state elections. But with support from NGOs, the government can bring in eligible people to hospitals and inoculate them.”
Babu sees a great role for corporate social responsibility. “As long as transmission of the virus continues, more strains will develop and the economy will eventually get affected,” he said.
A member of the state Covid task force said the government must channelise supply to ensure hospitals, especially those in areas where walk-ins could be high, have enough doses.
“We can beat Covid only if the rate of vaccination is ahead of the transmission rate,” the doctor said. “There must be teams of volunteers to mobilise people and take them to vaccination centres. The focus must be on all those moving around for work as they are highly vulnerable.”
Dr Ravindra Mehta, chief of pulmonary, critical care and interventional pulmonology, Apollo specialty hospitals, says India must emulate Israel which incentivised those taking the vaccine. “The utility of the vaccine can be gauged only when there is mass acceptance,” he said.
Doctors are also relieved with the new norm since comorbidity certificates are no longer needed. A nodal officer for a vaccination centre said his team gets 20-25 calls a day seeking such certificates.
“We don’t want to risk vaccinating someone who has no comorbidity. What if s/he faces adverse events following vaccination and there is an investigation?” a doctor said.