Increased vaccination key to defeating COVID-19 in tribal districts of Odisha: Panel

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Bhubaneswar, Jul 2 (PTI) The UNICEF in collaboration with the Odisha Health Department organised a virtual media sensitisation programme for three tribal districts for generating awareness on COVID appropriate behaviour and the benefits of vaccination in fighting against coronavirus.

Concerned over the awareness level in the tribal districts of Rayagada, Koraput, and Malkangiri due to geographic challenges, literacy rate and misconceptions related to the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, the panel on Thursday stressed the need for the media to play a positive role to highlight the facts and reinforce peoples belief in the vaccine, a statement said.

Anil Patnaik of UNICEF Odisha said only five per cent of the people were getting severely affected due to a weaker immune system.

'People with comorbidities and immunodeficiency, and senior citizens may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. In the second wave, it was also evident that more younger people are also getting affected by the viral infection, Patnaik said.

Highlighting that all vaccines were safe as they have gone through several phases of clinical testing, the UNICEF official said, 'Vaccines for various diseases have existed for many decades and have saved lives. Similarly, the COVID-19 vaccine is also meant to protect people from the disease.' Patnaik said the coverage of vaccination in these three districts was picking up.

Speaking on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, Health Department routine immunisation child health manager Sashibhusan Panda said no vaccine can be readied overnight and it takes many stages of testing before approval.

'The vaccines for Covid available in India have also gone through all required processes and testing,' Panda said.

Asserting that two doses of the vaccine help in creating sufficient amounts of antibodies, the official described the jabs as soldiers who fight against the virus.

'There are a few cases that are contradictory,' he said, adding that those were because of other reasons like immunodeficiency due to comorbidities.

Koraput Additional District Public Health Officer Nilamadhav Satpathy said a door-to-door campaign had been started by ASHA workers to spread awareness about taking the vaccine. PTI HMB AAM MM MM

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