Bengaluru recorded the highest vaccination numbers among Indian cities on September 17 at 4.04 lakh.

A medic administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a womanIMAGE FOR REPRESENTATION/PTI
news COVID-19 vaccination Saturday, September 18, 2021 - 16:59

On the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday celebration on Friday, September 17, the Karnataka government and district authorities administered the highest number of COVID vaccines on a single day the state has recorded till date. Like several other states where the BJP is in power, Karnataka announced the mega vaccination drive a few days before the PM’s birthday. While the accelerated vaccination drive has great potential to avoid a fresh spike in cases and related fatalities, a closer look at the numbers show a sharp drop in vaccinations two days preceding September 17.

The sharp rise in daily vaccines witnessed across the state was prominent in Bengaluru with more than 4 lakh jabs given in the BBMP area alone on Friday, as per data from the CoWIN portal. On September 15 and 16, the number of vaccines administered in BBMP areas and Bengaluru Urban district were 32,471 and 23,746 respectively. This when the average daily vaccination in Bengaluru Urban district and BBMP areas over the past 10 days (September 5-September 14) were little over 67,000.

Incidentally, these numbers also meant that for Friday, Bengaluru stood best among Indian cities in terms of vaccination for the day. Named as Bruhat COVID Lasika Mela, the mega vaccination drive was held over 2,200 centres, while the time period was extended till 10 pm. A total of 4,04,496 people were given the vaccines on September 17.

However, the mega drive planned for September 17 meant that several people in some areas of the city who went to queue up at the centres on Wednesday and Thursday were told to come back on Friday despite having sufficient stock.

Karnataka also saw its overall vaccination numbers fall from over 3.78 lakh on Monday, September 13, to 81,385 on September 16. However, on Friday, September 17, Karnataka topped the country by administering a whopping 26.92 lakh doses (at 9 pm on CoWIN) outdoing other Bihar and Uttar Pradesh which achieved over 26.62 lakh doses and 24.86 lakh doses respectively. India vaccinated 2.26 crore across states on Friday.

With this, Karnataka till Friday night had administered a total of 5.12 crore doses. “We are confident of vaccinating the entire adult population in the state by the end of November,” Dr Sudhakar said.  Not surprisingly, the other two states which ended up second and third also saw a major dip in the preceding days. An independent journalist pointed out that the vaccination dropped more than 90% for Bihar on Thursday compared to Monday’s numbers. And the drop in UP was 75% compared to the numbers of Monday. Compared to these two states the dip for Karnataka on Thursday was lesser.

 

 

Dr Nityasri SN, public health researcher, said, "It is heartening to see high numbers of COVID-19 vaccines administered yesterday in Bengaluru Urban and BBMP areas during the mega vaccination drive in the country. However, such large numbers raise concerns of overcrowding at the vaccination sites, leading to risk of viral exposure and a subsequent rise in infections. The low numbers of vaccines administered in the days leading up to the vaccination drive also indicate the possibility of individuals being turned away from vaccination centres in order to increase numbers during the drive."

She added, "In the context of the timing and execution of the vaccination drive, it is not difficult to see it as a political move. Communities would be better served by sustained vaccination efforts and decentralized planning, which would also allow health services to respond to local needs."

Dr Anand Lakshman, another public health professional and CEO Address Health, said the numbers achieved on Friday across the nation was very pleasing. The number of vaccination sites had gone up to 1 lakh from the average of 50,000. “We should sustain these number of sites to avoid crowding and also increase accessibility for the last 20% of the population who are yet to be covered,” he said. Instead of jumbo vaccine centers, he said states should follow the success model  of polio vaccinations and implement microplans. Further he said a network of ASHA and ANM (auxiliary nurse midwife) workers can be efficiently managed to run 2 lakh centres daily along with other public and private health facilities.

 

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