Despite rigorous campaigns and vaccination drives, Thane Municipal Corporation has around three lakh beneficiaries left to be administered with the first dose.
There has been only a 26.21% increase in first dose vaccination post Diwali, according to the surveyors. TMC officials claimed that the reluctance in the minds of people in certain pockets of the city continues.
“I am very scared of needles and my children kept insisting on getting vaccinated but I ignored them. It was only when the TMC officers came and said that this will benefit my health that I visited the centre half-heartedly,” said Shailaja Pawar, a 57-year-old resident of Diva who got her first vaccination against Covid on Thursday.
Meanwhile, there are entire families in Mumbra who are not keen on getting jabbed. “None of us in our vicinity have been detected Covid positive in the last two years. We have not been affected during the wave. Then, how will it impact us going forward? We are not keen on getting vaccinated and then falling ill,” said Faiza Shaikh, a 55-year-old resident of Mumbra. Faiza’s entire family including senior citizens have not been jabbed yet.
Thane city has nine wards wherein areas like Majiwada-Manapada and Vartak Nagar had already achieved 100% first dose vaccination while Kalwa and Wagle Estate have now achieved more than 100% and around 90.35% first dose inoculation, respectively. These are the wards that have plush residential areas and a large number of moving population.
Uthalsar ward has had a major impact post Diwali. It has now achieved 87.69% vaccination, up from 51% until October 25. Meanwhile, areas like Diva, Lokmanya-Savarkar Nagar and Mumbra that are densely populated and have remote pockets as well are still at below 30% first dose vaccination.
TMC conducted special camps at places of worship to increase the number of first dose vaccination. “The areas with the least vaccination are Kausa, Mumbra and Shil within Thane civic body. Savarkar Nagar, Kharegaon, Retibunder and some parts of Diva also have fewer vaccinated population,” said Dr Prasad Patil, immunization officer, TMC.
Despite the rigorous drive initiated, wards like Diva, Lokmanya-Savarkar Nagar and Mumbra have seen hardly a 10% hike each in the last three weeks.
Ranjana Patil, a TMC nurse, said, “There are various reasons cited by people to avoid vaccination including reluctance, nervousness, worry for the side effects of the vaccine, believing in rumours about its after effects and many more. There is a lot of convincing and cajoling required before vaccinating those residing in chawls or slum pockets of the city.” Patil is one of the nurses in camps set up in areas with low vaccination response.
Dr Sanjay Pingulkar, general physician and member of Thane Rapid Action Covid Team, said, “The main aim of vaccination is to reduce the impact of the virus. For an inoculated individual, hospitalisation usually does not arise according to the current trends. There are only certain pockets in the city that are having an unvaccinated population. As the number of cases is low, the situation seems to be in control. But if the probable third wave strikes, we will have to wait and watch how it will impact the unvaccinated population. The vaccinated population can develop herd immunity as well across the district.”