80% of Panchkula’s populace have received two Covid vaccine shots

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The threat of a third wave looming large, the Panchkula district administration has ramped up its vaccination drive, jabbing around 80% of its target population with the second dose by December 15. Of these, 26,500 people, or around five per cent of the district’s population, had received their vaccine doses in the last seven days itself, till December 15, data said.

Panchkula district immunisation officer, Dr Meenu Sasan, said that the aim was to fully vaccinate all the residents of Panchkula by the end of December this year. Incidentally, Panchkula had vaccinated 100 per cent of its target population with the first dose of Covid vaccine in the first week of September.

As per data, while only around 70 per cent of the population had been vaccinated with the second dose by November 30, the number had jumped up to 80.15 per cent by December 15. The target population of the district is calculated as per standard central norm, which is 60 per cent of the total population. The target population of Panchkula, as per norms, is 4.4 lakh people, of which around 3.9 lakh people have now been fully vaccinated.

The health department, as per Dr Sasan, has taken several steps to increase the pace of vaccination and motivate people to come forward. “We focused on poor performing and reluctant areas. We made our deputies adopt villages and vaccinate them with special focus. The deputies involved village heads and sarpanches. Further, we started focusing on evening sessions. We now have vaccination centres running even till 11pm at times. This is being done to vaccinate the migratory population,” said Dr Sasan.

Dr Sasan said that the health teams have even covered markets, “as those working there were either not aware of the vaccination drive or did not find time to come get their jabs. “We have vaccinated around 203,040 people in every market,” she added.

“Every Thursday there are Shirdi Sai langars in several sectors. We tied up with them and started sending our teams with the hope that they get to vaccinate at least a few people there. The response we have got at these events have been massive. Those who reach for the langar get the jabs there itself. We have an average of 90 people being vaccinated per session during the langars,” said Dr Sasan.

The department covered mandis of the district as well. “The mandis contained the class of people who we deemed most careless about vaccination. Thus, with a slight push from our side, we managed to vaccinate several at the mandis,” she said.
Dr Sasan said that at the current pace, the district will be able to cover 100 per cent of the population with both the doses either by December end or in January.

The department has saksham workers, calling up people whose second doses are due. “There are several people who have said that they were unaware that their dates for the second dose had arrived,” said Dr sasan.

Stressing on the need to be vaccinated, the health officer said, “Those being vaccinated do have at least some immunity against the virus. Even today, there are several who have not taken their first dose. We see senior citizens from urban areas who have not taken their first vaccine doses. This will not help. With the Omnicrom variant of Covid circulating now, people who have not been jabbed at all have become more vulnerable.”

The current achievement though, Dr Sasan said, has not been easy to achieve. “We had to pull through many issues which come with the responsibility to vaccinate all strata of people across a district.”

The doctors on ground, during the drive, did not just continue inoculation throughout the phase of vaccine shortage but also fought through rumors of impotence at village levels, climbed mountains to reach inaccessible village areas and motivated locals to participate.

“We went village to village, opened vaccinations at sub-centre levels, went door to door in areas that showed lower participation, set up motivation camps in rural and slum areas, started a social media campaign to fight rumors of impotency and started mobile vans,” said Dr Sasan.

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