Why Low Turnout for Covid-19 Vaccination on Sunday is Not a Cause for Alarm

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New Delhi: On Sunday, India completed its second day of vaccination against Covid-19. The low vaccination numbers on Sunday raised a spate of doubts among people. News18 explains why the numbers remained low and should not be seen as cause for concern.

How many healthcare workers have been vaccinated till Sunday?

Between Saturday and Sunday, 2,24,301 beneficiaries were vaccinated in the country, largely comprising of healthcare workers and other hospital staff such as sanitation workers, housekeeping staff, pharmacists and ambulance drivers. Of these, 17,072 beneficiaries were vaccinated on Sunday and the rest on Saturday.

Why were vaccination numbers low on Sunday?

The Union Health Ministry has advised state governments and union territory administrations to plan vaccinations keeping in mind the functioning of routine health services in primary healthcare centres, district hospitals and large general hospitals. States have been advised to schedule vaccinations four days in a week in order to minimise the routine health services.

On Sunday, only six states – Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur and Tamil Nadu – had scheduled vaccinations. A total of 553 sessions were held on Sunday which saw 17,072 beneficiaries get vaccinated.

What is the schedule across most states?

As per data provided by the Union Health Ministry, 20 states and seven union territories have scheduled vaccinations four days in a week. Bihar, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are some of the larger and more populous states among these 20 states. Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and Puducherry are some of the UTs.

Nagaland, Odisha and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have scheduled it for three days in a week, while Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Goa have scheduled it twice a week. Andhra Pradesh has scheduled it for a maximum of six days.

What are some of the other reasons for a lower turnout so far?

Experts and health authorities have said that early hesitancy and doubts, weekend schedules might be some of the reasons for lower turnouts. In some hospitals in Delhi, senior health authorities had to come forward and volunteer to take the vaccine shot to instil confidence among colleagues. Glitches faced on the Co-WIN digital software, which is the backbone of the mass vaccination drive, also led to some issues on Day 1 and 2. These issues pertained mainly to the registration of beneficiaries and did not lead to any major cancellation of planned vaccinations.