Public reluctance to go for Covid booster dose worries Bengal govt

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Kolkata, Jan 6 (IANS): Amid fresh Covid-19 scare, the West Bengal health department is worried over the increasing reluctance of people to go for booster vaccine dose shots.

Rough figures compiled by the state health department show reluctance and most people take booster doses unnecessary.

The figures also reveal how the public sincerity in going for the first dose declined marginally for the second dose and finally nosedived in case of the booster dose.

A state health department official said that over seven crore people went for the first dose, which slid down for the second dose. However, when it came to third and booster dose the number fell to just 1.5 crore.

As a result several doses of vaccines at the state health department’s family welfare stores at Bagbazar in north Kolkata have expired. A state health department official said that up to December last year 80,000 doses of COVAXIN expired and more will expire by the current month of January.

Renowned physician from the city, Dr Arindam Biswas, however, does not want to blame only the public reluctance in the matter.

“There is a major reason that prompted this reluctance and the reason is economical. Unlike the first two doses, the third and the booster dose was not provided free by the government. So many people, who do not even earn enough to have two meals a day, preferred to stay away from the booster dose.

“Now coming to the point of nasal vaccine, the government introduced it at a very late stage, and that too has restricted its supply to private hospitals only. Finally, it seems that the government’s drive to create awareness among the people is also low. So, in my opinion if the government is really keen that people shed their reluctance about the third dose, it should introduce provisions for providing them free also”, Biswas added.

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