Even as the second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination begins, many eligible people are reluctant to register for it, doubting the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. People over the age of 60 and those within the age bracket of 45-59 years with co-morbidities specified by the Central Government have been deemed eligible to be administered the Covid19 vaccine across the country in the second phase.
However, some senior citizens, even educated ones in Vizag, remain wary of taking it. When asked if they registered for the vaccination in the CoWIN portal, most of them confessed that they were afraid of the jab. “I will not take a vaccine shot. We have been hearing about people dying after taking the vaccine. Even many health workers, including doctors, refused to take it. Why would I take unnecessary risk,” said N Sankar Rao, a 68-year-old resident of Madhurawada in the city.
About 53 lakh people are 60 years of age or older as per Census 2011 while there are about 7 lakh people between 45 to 59 with comorbidities suffering from chronic ailments like cancer, diabetes, heart problem, hypertension and others. Speaking to Hello Vizag, Special Officer for Covid-19 and Andhra Medical College Principal, P Sudhakar, said: “We can’t deny that there is fear among the people. It was evident from Phase-I. I also took the Covid-19 jab and have been encouraging people to get inoculated. However, some stray incidents of side effects are still in the minds of people. We have to conduct awareness programmes too.”
Apart from this, lack of awareness over the registration and technical issues have hampered the vaccination process for the elderly, and people with co-morbidities on Day-I of the second phase. However, people in the age bracket of 45-59 are a bit enthusiastic to take the Covid-19 jab and are registering in the portal. In AP, vaccination is being carried out in all the government hospitals and in about 546 private hospitals in 13 districts of AP. Private hospitals have been asked to pay the amount beforehand to avail of the vaccine vials from the health department.