Around 18 lakh people in West Bengal have not turned up in time for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent survey by the Health Department.
According to the survey, the people have cited a number of reasons for not taking the second dose of the vaccine including contracting the virus after the first shot, death due to post-vaccine complications and migration to other states for work.
The figure includes beneficiaries of the first dose of both Covaxin and Covishield vaccines, the prescribed duration of the second dose of which are 28-42 days and 84-112 days, respectively.
“Close to 18 lakh people have not appeared for the second dose. It is a very serious matter,” a senior Health Department official told PTI.
According to the survey, which was conducted in 23 districts and five health districts of the state, Hooghly topped the list of people who are yet to take the second dose of the jab (1,40,403), while the lowest count was in Kalimpong (11,746).
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“There are many who passed away before their scheduled second dose, while some contracted the virus after the first shot and could not proceed for the next dose,” the official said.
“Quite a few of them also changed their mobile numbers after the initial dose and could not be traced,” the official added.
Another official said that a large number of labourers who went to other states in search of employment after the lockdown norms were relaxed, also added to the number of people missing out on the second dose.
“Several frontline workers and officials, including central forces, who had arrived in the state during the Assembly elections earlier this year and inoculated here, left before taking the second dose. This also added to the tally of those who skipped the second shot,” the official said.
State Family Welfare Officer Ashim Das Malakar has directed the concerned officials to call on the mobile numbers of individuals who have not turned up for the second dose.
The Health Department has also decided to send some field workers to visit the homes of such beneficiaries to find out the reason behind the delay in taking the subsequent dose.
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“I can tell you that those who have not come up for the second dose during the stipulated time period can still get jabbed. There is nothing to worry about,” the official said.
A total of 6,14,43,875 people have been inoculated in the state with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine till date.
(With inputs from Agencies)