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Myth, superstition & confusion put hurdle in Covid-19 vaccination


January 22nd, 2021

Our Bureau/

Call it stupidity or something else as majority of doctors along with health staffs in most of the government medical college hospitals including Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical college hospital (JLNMCH), Bhagalpur are in an utter confused states to accept Covid-19 vaccine.

The reason : the medicos have started refusing Covaxin (Bharat Biotech) just because the injection has been approved on clinical trial mode(for lack of interim efficacy data). “Some of the doctors here have refused to take the vaccines mainly because Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is still in clinical trial stage and how one could be fully sure about its efficiency,” admitted a senior doctor at JLNMCH.

The turnout of taking the vaccines hence achieved a very slow percentage in Bhagalpur as well as other government medical college hospitals in Bihar. The overall situation has alarmed the state administration in Bihar.

It’s pertinent to note Bihar already witnessed the death of  1,461 due to Covid-19. The government targeted 464,000 health workers  for injecting the vaccines in the first phase.

Rumors and gossips have its strong wings at Bihar as the news of death of 23 persons in Norway after receiving the Pfiizer-BioNTech vaccine and nearly 600 cases in India where the first shorts resultant adversely have spread fears among  health workers in the state.  “ People want others to get the shots first to know about the side effects,” a health worker at Bhagalpur told on condition of anonymity.

The news of the death of four Covishield recipients in India has further made the situation compounded though government  has denied that the deaths were connected to vaccination.

“Like other countries in the world why not country’s top politicians, including prime minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues and the states chief minsters and the cabinets yet not take the first shorts. The indifferent attitude of those persons sitting on the highest constitutional posts in fact created confusion among the mass,” many alleged. Some persons said that when the advanced counties still hesitating for the final vaccine of this peculiar diseases, how country like India started the vaccination programme in short time?

Amit Kumar, a social activist here alleged that stories of post-vaccine health complications doing the rounds on social media has also added fuel to the fire , said Neeraj Kumar, a health worker from Darbhanga. “The vaccines are even not succeeded in the advanced countries and our prime minister and other VVIPs yet not shown any interest to take it, why poor country men became the scape goats?” said Sanjoy Kumar a, medical sales representative of a reputed pharma company.

“People are confused about which vaccine is better — Covisheild or Covaxin. So, they are taking longer to decide and are in wait and watch mode ,” said Pradeep Kumar, a medicine stockiest here at Bhagalpur.

Bihar has been provided 569,000 doses of vaccines. It includes 54,900 vials (each containing 10 doses) of Covishield vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institutes of India and 1,000 vials (each containing 20 doses) of Covaxin manufactured by the Bharat Biotech. According  to the source the state received low turnout in the vaccination drive in the first phase,  Bhagalpur could achieve just 20 per cent of its target on the third day.

Health workers now have started manipulating many instances for avoiding the vaccine. “We have been working from last April with masks and senitisers and yet not get infected even after handling many Covid-19 patients at JLNMCH. So what is the need to take additional risk from this vaccine. And secondly when our seniors are avoiding it, should we do the mistake,” a group of nurses at JLNMCH told logically. They admitted that many didn’t turn up at the vaccination Centres despite getting the text message with the site address and date and time of inoculation. They said that many had avoided with reason like illness, not reach to the center in time due to adverse cold conditions etc.

However, the official concerned of the state health department here refused such low turnout against the target of vaccination. The officials blamed the severe cold waves sweeping  all over the state for the low turnouts.

The Co-Win portal, a mobile phone application developed by the Centre to register the beneficiaries, also crashed frequently in the past three days, blamed the source from the office of civil surgeon, Bhagalpur. Messages carrying place and time for vaccination could not be delivered on time, the source blamed.

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