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Bad weather hits Covid vaccination drive

Many could not reach vaccination centres because of bad weather conditions and landslides

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

Inclement weather and landslides in the Hills hit the Covid19 vaccination process in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts in the past two days. The setback comes at a time when the state health department has stressed on increasing the inoculation percentage.

Health department officials said they were expecting the normal drive to resume as the situation improves. Extremely heavy rainfall since Monday night triggered a series of landslides and road blockades, and damaged houses and bridges in the Hills and the Plains and paralysed normal life.

“No vaccination camp could be conducted at Sukhia Pokhari. A similar situation almost prevailed at Bijanbari. People had a harrowing time, saving their lives and property. There was hardly any presence of vaccine recipients,” said a Darjeeling district health department official.

Many could not reach vaccination centres because of bad weather conditions and landslides. Meanwhile, the state health department has asked the districts to increase the Covid19 vaccination. There are around 37 government-run
vaccination centres in the district–15 in the Hills and 22 in the Plains–in the district.

“The daily count has dropped significantly. When there are 300-400 people on an average turning up at each vaccination centre, the number was between 30 and 40,” an official said.

Officials associated with the disaster management and civil defence department said that given the extent of damage caused by landslides, it will
take some more days for normality to be restored. Health department officials said around 85 percent vaccination of at least the first dose had been completed in the district.

The district chief medical officer of health, Dr Pralay Acharya, said the vaccination drive had been affected due to the natural calamity. “But we are hopeful that the normal vaccination campaign will resume within a few days,”
he said.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the board of administrators of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation Gautam Deb said they had set a target to administer the first dose to 3.72 lakh people.

“Around 30,000 are still left from the target as we had earlier offered 60,000 additional people with the first dose who were not residents of the corporation area. We will achieve the target within this month,” Mr Deb said.

He said the civic body was planning for an online vaccination facility at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation Indoor Stadium.