Delhi saw its lowest ever Covid-19 vaccination turnout percentage on Wednesday, with fewer than half of the day’s targeted health care workers getting jabs, even as the state government decided to open up the inoculation programme for front line workers on a trial basis from Thursday.
Of the 18,300 health workers who were due to get a jab of either Covaxin or Covishield on Wednesday, only 7,365 turned up on a day the government significantly ramped up the number of vaccination centres.
So far, of 240,000 health workers who are registered for vaccination in Delhi, 81,258 have been administered their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The government on Tuesday scaled up the number of vaccination sites from 106 to 183. Vaccines will now be administered six days a week, up from four earlier, the state administration had announced on Monday.
Delhi, on Wednesday, recorded a turnout of 40.25% which, according to government records, is the lowest since January 16 when the vaccination drive was launched.
The city also recorded 17 adverse effects following immunisation (AEFI) on Wednesday, none of which were reported to be severe, said officials.
Till Wednesday, the lowest turnout was recorded on the second day of the drive (January 18) at 44.2% and the highest on sixth day (January 25) at 91.5%. During that phase, Delhi had 81 vaccination centres.
Government officials and experts attributed the decline in turn-out to a lack of awareness among beneficiaries about the new centres, adding that several other facilities may hit their vaccination saturation points.
Delhi government spokespersons did not comment on the turnout on Wednesday.
Suneela Garg, director professor of community medicines department at Maulana Azad Medical College and member of the Lancet Covid-19 commission and vaccination task force for India, said: “At this point, the aim should be to strengthen last-mile reach out. People across priority groups who want to get vaccinated at the earliest should get the opportunity to do so. This will also contribute to confidence building among other beneficiaries. The turnout figures will naturally go up again.”