AP records 48.90 pc coverage in phase I COVID-19 vaccination; Second phase from Wednesday

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Amaravati, Feb 2 (PTI) A little over 48 per cent of the targeted 3.88 lakh healthcare workers were administered coronavirus vaccines in Andhra Pradesh in the first phase from January 16 as the government is set to launch the second phase to cover frontline staff of various departments from Wednesday.

While it was targeted to administer both CoviShield and Covaxin to 3,88,327 healthcare workers in the first phase, only 1,89,890 working out to 48.90 per cent got the shots till date, Deputy Chief Minister (Health) A K K Srinivas told a press conference here on Tuesday.

The government has attributed the slow pace of vaccination to 'misgivings' even among doctors.

In an obvious political line, Srinivas said the focus laid on conduct of elections to gram panchayats also affected the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the state.

State chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das in a recent government order had noted that incidents of death of a healthcare worker and the hospitalisation of a dentist 'impacted the vaccination programme.' The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination began on January 16 and so far only on three holidays it was not conducted.

East Godavari district topped the state with 22,260 healthcare workers getting the first dose, followed by Visakhapatnam with 20,620.

Vizianagaram was at the bottom with 10,535, though in terms of per centage it came second with 60.32 of the target.

Neighbouring Srikakulam topped with 63.79 per cent coverage.

In the second phase, 5.90 lakh frontline workers of departments like revenue, panchayat raj, municipal administration and police were registered for the vaccination.

The revenue staff alone would be 3,32,600.

However, Director General of Police D G Sawang said his force decided to 'forego their rightful vaccination' in the interest of public health, safety and the constitutionally- enshrined democratic process of electioneering.

'In the circumstances, vaccination will disrupt and dislocate the duty and responsibility of police personnel as they have to be deployed for election duties and also provide bandobust for the vaccination programme. We cannot afford to cause the disruption and hence we will forego our vaccination,' he told reporters.

Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said 3,181 session sites would be operated for the phase-2 of the vaccination programme.

'We have programmed the sessions in such a way that the healthcare workers, who already received the first dose, will also be given the second dose at the respective locations,' he said.

The state so far received 16,31,290 doses of CoviShield and Covaxin, sufficient enough to cover two rounds for each beneficiary, he said. PTI DBV VS VS