Ahmedabad, Jun 3 (PTI) Despite the availability of vaccines, the response to the COVID-19 vaccination drive in Rajkot district of Gujarat, especially its rural parts, has so far remained below the desired level, with the authorities attributing it to misconceptions and superstitions surrounding inoculation.
Addressing a press conference in Rajkot on Thursday, its district collector Remya Mohan said that as against the available doses, less than half the number of eligible persons are coming forward to get the COVID-19 jabs.
WhatsApp messages containing warnings against vaccination are also responsible for the lukewarm response in rural pockets, particularly from the 45-plus population, she said.
'We want people's cooperation in the vaccination drive. However, we are getting a lukewarm response, particularly from the 45-plus age group, in rural pockets of the district. It is happening mainly because people are believe in misconceptions, superstitions and WhatsApp messages doing the rounds,' said Mohan.
'The district administration is trying its best to convince people to take the vaccine. As against the available doses, less than half of the beneficiaries are approaching our centres to take the jab,' the Rajkot collector said.
As per the Gujarat government's data, as many as 1.74 crore people in the state have been given vaccines, including the second dose.
Rajkot district's tally stands at just 3.70 lakh.
In stark contrast, as many as 6.97 lakh people, nearly double the rural beneficiaries, were given vaccines in Rajkot city, showed the data uploaded on the CoWIN portal.
To convince the rural population, the Rajkot collector has formed teams under respective Prant Officers (Sub Divisional Magistrates).
'We have appealed to various religious leaders to make people understand the benefits of vaccine. Teams under SDMs have also been formed. These teams will visit those villages where very low turnout of beneficiaries has been recorded. I also appeal to people to come forward and get themselves vaccinated,' the collector said. PTI PJT NP NP