Low confidence in Covid vaccine in Pune, says divisional commissioner

One of the major decisions taken during Sunday’s review meet, Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said, was to activate Covid Care Centres in the rural areas and stepping up strategies like testing and contact-tracing.

Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao said Sunday the confidence in vaccination in Pune has remained low with barely five to six per cent of frontline workers getting the jab so far.

In the Pune Municipal Corporation areas, only 55 per cent of healthcare workers have so far got vaccinated while five to six per cent of frontline workers have got the dose.

“There are system-related glitches in the digital CoWin platform and we are addressing those issues,” Rao told media persons after a review meeting on the Covid-19 situation and vaccination status in the district that was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

“Despite being registered as vaccine beneficiaries, there are several private medical practitioners who have not got inoculated. Several others, who received SMSes about visiting the (vaccination) centre for the dose, did not find their names on reaching. We are looking into all these issues,” Rao said.

Until Sunday, Pune district reported a total of 3.9 lakh Covid cases. Over the last week, 600 to 800 new infections have been reported in the district daily. On Sunday, 1,100 new cases were reported of which 634 were from Pune Municipal Corporation areas alone.

A fortnight ago the Covid-19 positivity rate in the Pune district was at 4 to 5 per cent. Currently, the positivity rate has shot up to 10 per cent in the district.

Appealing to citizens to abide by Covid-19 protocols, Rao said, “Plans are now underway to strengthen the infrastructure at B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital so that 1,000 samples can be tested daily.

Overall, 10,000 samples are being tested daily and we will now ask the National Institute of Virology, which is doing the major work of genome sequencing, to take up Covid-19 testing as well. Apart from NIV, National AIDS Research Institute and Armed Forces Medical College will also be asked to undertake Covid testing.”

One of the major decisions taken during Sunday’s review meet, Rao said, was to activate Covid Care Centres in the rural areas and stepping up strategies like testing and contact-tracing. “Covid Care Centres are being immediately activated in rural centres and, in the future, if we want to activate dedicated Covid-19 hospitals and jumbo hospitals it will take a week,” he added.

Dr Subhash Salunkhe, the state technical advisor on Covid-19, who was present at the review meeting, said allowing vaccination in the private sector requires to be taken up with the Centre.

“When there are people willing to pay (for the jab) why is the Centre monopolising it… The vaccine is a tool for primary prevention and why should access be denied,” Dr Salunkhe said.

Dr D B Kadam, meanwhile, emphasised the need to expedite the use of vaccines for people above 50 years and those with comorbidities.

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