North Bengal recorded around 34 percent shortfall in Covid-19 vaccination on the first day on Saturday.

Sources at the health department said that 2,914 healthcare workers in eight districts received the jabs against a target of vaccinating 4,400 people. “A total of 2,914 people who have been vaccinated at 44 vaccination sites made up about 66.2 percent of the target of 4,400. There was a shortfall of 33.77 per cent according to the drive till 5 p.m. yesterday. However, the number of beneficiaries went up at some centers as the vaccination continued for some more time,” the sources said.

Each site was to aim at vaccinating 100 people a day.

The target for the Alipurduar district was 400 at four sites but 356 beneficiaries (89 per cent) were vaccinated, Cooch Behar district vaccinated 529 people (58.8 percent) at nine sites when the target was 900. In Darjeeling district 598 people received the vaccines (99.6 percent) at five facilities against the target of 500. Jalpaiguri district vaccinated 285 beneficiaries (57 percent) at five centers but the target was 500.

Both North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur districts have recorded 59.2 per cent against the same targets (600 each). “The districts registered the vaccinations of 355 people each on 12 vaccination points (six each) till 3 p.m.,” said an official.

The officials attributed snags in the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) application and apprehension of side effects of Covid-19 vaccines kept listed beneficiaries away from vaccination sites yesterday. “The process was mainly conducted manually since the application did not work on the first day. We could not check the details of the beneficiaries from the application. Therefore, we called the recipients to get the vaccines. But some healthcare workers stayed away from vaccination because they are worried about the side effects. We are expecting that more including them to take the jab in the coming days,” they said.

The officer on special duty for Covid-19 in north Bengal Dr Susanta Kumar Roy said “The vaccination is voluntary and it remains with the individual.” Dr Roy is likely to take the vaccine tomorrow.

Darjeeling district chief medical officer of health Dr Pralay Acharya said no reports of adverse effects might encourage others to take the vaccines.

“We are motivating the healthcare workers to receive the vaccine. So far there is no report of any side effects of the recipients in the district and this may encourage others to join the vaccination drive,” dr Acharya said.

Meanwhile, the dates of the vaccination have been rescheduled on Monday (18 January), Tuesday (19 January), Thursday (21 January) and Friday (22 January) at the same facilities.