The health department is yet to speed up vaccination of booster dose as well as cumulative vaccination precaution dose though the state records worrying surge in number of Covid-19 cases since last week with daily positivity rate close three per cent.
On Wednesday, the state recorded 230 new coronavirus cases, compared with 135 on Tuesday. According to the health department, the last time the state had recorded more than 200 daily new cases was during the end of February, when the Omicron variant-driven wave was heading towards its end.
Around 32 lakh people have been given booster doses against more than six crore beneficiaries who have completed a second shot of vaccination in the state so far.
The state health department bosses admitted that the booster dose vaccination programme in the city and districts is not satisfying at a time when there has been an alarming surge in the number of novel coronavirus-affected cases since last week.
“It’s a fact that the booster dose vaccination that is given nine months after the completion of the second dose is not satisfying. As per the directives of the Supreme Court, we can’t force people to take vaccines. We can create awareness programmes so that people get interested in taking vaccines to prevent the viral infection ravaging the world from 2020,” Dr Siddhartha Niogy, acting director of health services (DHS), said.
“People are reluctant to follow COVID guidelines mainly social distancing and using masks and hand sanitisers and this behavior leads to steady surge in COVID cases again in the state. We have already sensitized municipal bodies across the state to create awareness programmes as much as possible in communities,” Dr Niogy said.
“COVID situation is getting worse again because most people are not following COVID appropriate guidelines. We have held a meeting with members of the global advisory board formed by the state government on the pandemic to take stock of the existing situation,” said Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, leading member of the board.
“The nine month-long gap between second dose and booster dose vaccination will have to be brought down to six month to fight the worrying surge. The administration will have to take strong measures forcing people to follow guidelines immediately otherwise the situation may get out of control again,” the veteran general medicine expert said.