Haryana district with lowest vaccination rate catches authorities’ attention

The pace of Covid vaccinations in Nuh district of Haryana continues to be slow and it has the lowest vaccination rate in Haryana.

Sources said at a Covid review meeting chaired by the Union health minister on Monday, Nuh’s low vaccination rate was among several talking points. In October last year, Nuh was among the 48 worst performing districts in terms of immunization coverage in the country, according to data shared at a conference of state health ministers.

Haryana’s first dose coverage is 104% and second dose coverage is 86% among eligible beneficiaries over 15 years of age.

According to data shared by the health department, up to June 9, 2022, first-dose coverage in Nuh was 79% and second-dose coverage was 44%, implying that less than half of the eligible population in the district received both doses. Excluding coverage for the 12-14 age group, coverage of the first and second dose in Nuh is 82% and 46% respectively.

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For people over the age of 60, the coverage of the first dose is 67% while the coverage of the second dose is 44%. In the 45-60 age group, 59% of the eligible population received the first dose and 40% received the second dose. The figures are relatively better for people in the 18-44 age group, with first dose coverage of 93% and 51% of second dose inoculations. For adolescents aged 15 to 17, 61% received the first dose while only 17% received the second dose.

“In the 12-14 age group, for which vaccinations began in mid-March 2022, only 3% received the first dose while less than 0.5% of eligible children in the age group age received the second dose. A total of 3,149 precautionary doses were administered, according to the data.

Prabhjot Singh, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Haryana said, “With the decline in Covid cases in recent months, the rate of vaccination has gone down. We are intensifying door-to-door vaccinations within the framework of the ‘Har ghar dastak programme, in particular among 12-14 year olds and organizing special camps. We have faced a lot of resistance from parents of school children regarding vaccination and we are working to organize awareness programs to educate them.

Surender Singh, Nuh’s chief medical officer, said the pace of vaccinations had slowed due to a combination of factors.

“Initially there was a drop in second dose coverage due to breakthrough infection after the start of the third wave in which many contracted Covid. Therefore, a large majority of people are still not eligible for the precautionary dose. After some suspected measles cases were reported in Marora and Nagina, health department personnel stepped up routine vaccination and immunization in the district as vaccination is historically low there. So there has been a change in approach as some resources and field staff have been diverted to this program. There is also a general reluctance regarding the Covid vaccine among the population, especially with the decline in Covid cases,” Singh said.

He added that earlier rumors of infertility, misinformation about the Covid vaccine and a lower literacy rate in Nuh had all contributed to a lower vaccination rate in the district. “After the government linked vaccination to service delivery with a targeted campaign towards the end of 2021, there was a marginal increase in vaccination earlier this year, particularly among the 18-59 age group “, did he declare.

State Immunization Officer, NHM Haryana, Dr. Virendra Ahlawat said Nuh’s immunization coverage is the lowest in Haryana.

“There is a slight difference in terms of calculation due to which Nuh second dose coverage was mentioned in the Indian government survey as 26%, while the figure is close to 44%. This is due to an error based on the calculation of the total population estimates taken from the last census against the actual population in the district administration. We will write to the relevant officials to correct it,” he said.

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