2nd dose of jabs: Despite challenges, Bengal 'races ahead' of many states

2nd dose of jabs: Despite challenges, Bengal races ahead of many states

KOLKATA: Despite the challenges posed by the inadequate supply of vaccine by the Centre, Bengal has managed to administer a higher number of second doses to the people compared to many other states.

According to the Health department data, Bengal has administered second doses on over 40 per cent of the total population who have received the first dose. Bengal is ahead of other states like Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala when it comes to administering the second dose. Kerala has so far administered second doses on 36 per cent of this population while Gujarat has administered 34 per cent and Himachal Pradesh 34 per cent.

It has become possible as the Health department has laid enough stress on the completion of second doses. As the supply of vaccine from the Centre was not adequate, the Health department asked the district officials to ensure that people seeking second doses do not get deprived. Short supply of vaccine prompted the department to give priority to the people requiring the second dose. Health officials wanted to maintain parity between the administration of the first and second doses.

The state on Friday administered 4,86,529 doses across Bengal and the number of cumulative doses administered so far in the state reached 4,27,50,819 till Friday. As per Health department figure, Bengal on Thursday administered over 4.40 lakh of first dose and 1.68 lakh second dose.

First doses have been cumulatively administered on over 3.02 crore people so far and in case of second doses cumulative figure stands at 1.19 crore. As many as 2,336 vaccination centres have been operational throughout the state.

There had been a meager supply of doses by the Centre in April, May and June due to which the Health department had to deliberately scale down the immunisation drive. The drive received an impetus in August as the Centre had sent over 1 crore doses for this month. It happened after the Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took up the vaccine issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her recent visit to Delhi.

The Chief Minister had been vocal against the step motherly attitude of the Centre as it had sent more doses to the BJP-ruled states. Despite the low supply, Bengal has managed to utilise the maximum doses. Bengal extracted extra doses from each vial and applied them on people and hence the wastage rate in the state stands in minus figure.

This has become possible for the efficiency of the health workers and nursing staff members.

"Centre's allotment of vaccine is not proportionate to the population of the state as a result Bengal has received less amount of doses as per as its population is concerned. In Bengal, we are conducting the entire vaccination drive in a more scientific manner. The second dose was given priority over first sometimes only to ensure that people seeking the second dose do not lose the validity and they get the second jab within the stipulated time frame," a senior Health official said.

He further stated that Bengal performed the highest number of doses in August as it received comparatively more doses. State had successfully conducted over 5 lakh daily vaccinations over a span of one week in a row.

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