Poor response to COVID-19 vaccine programme in Puducherry: Officials

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(Eds: Recasts, adds quotes, details) Puducherry, Feb 11 (PTI) The response to the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine programme in the union territory was not up to the mark, top officials said on Thursday, stressing that all frontline and field workers should get vaccinated to fight the pandemic.

Speaking to reporters after getting himself vaccinated for the coronavirus, Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar S said he took the jab to motivate the other officials and the employees.

'The state-level committee for review of progress of vaccination programme (launched here on January 16) has found that the response to the programme in Union Territory of Puducherry is not up to the mark,' he told reporters here.

Besides him, Information and Publicity Secretary S D Sundaresan was also administered the vaccine, becoming the first top officials to get the jab.

According to health officials, so far only 4,770 of the frontline workers, including 4,587 in healthcare, had been vaccinated in Puducherry.

The total healthcare workers in union territory was around 25,000 and frontline workers would be 7,000, Health Secretary T Arun said.

Kumar, who was administered the vaccination at the government general hospital, said his experience was smooth.

'Vaccination is one of the ways to fight the pandemic.

We should fight together to keep pandemic at bay,' he said.

The top official appealed to the front line workers to come forward and get the vaccination.

Noting that Puducherry had achieved cent percent coverage in the general immunisation programme, he said vaccination against COVID-19 was also an immunisation programme and all should come forward to fight the pandemic through vaccination.

Arun said awareness about vaccination was 'the lowest in the Union Territory'.

Awareness was not adequately generated and to motivate the frontline workers, the Chief Secretary and the Information and Publicity Secretary got themselves vaccinated, keeping with the dictum of leading by example, he added. PTI CORR VS VS