13L in BBMP areas have taken the third jab
As the world is returning to normal after facing multiple Covid waves, there are lakhs of people who have still not taken the booster vaccine dose. Just 1 crore 2 lakh people have taken the booster dose in Karnataka.
According to data from the CoWin website, 5.5 crore people in Karnataka have taken the first and second doses. But only 20 percent of the population has taken the booster dose.
Bengaluru areas under BBMP limits have 13 lakh people who have taken the booster dose.
A citizen who did not want to be named informed The Observer: “I am not sure if I should get a booster dose, because I was once affected by Covid and hence I possess natural immunity which in itself acts as a booster…. However, I would like to seek a doctor’s opinion on getting a booster dose.”
Ganesh Bhat, another citizen, said: “I felt it is not necessary to take a booster dose…. Now Covid hasreduced. Also, there were some studies which were running on social media that Covid indirectly affects one’s life span. Such messages will scare people to go for vaccination.”
Another citizen said the booster dose is not necessary.
Priyanka, another citizen, shared: “I had visited a PHC at my place months ago and the booster vaccine for 18 plus was not given. Now I don’t even know whether booster vaccines are available or not…. I felt even the government has somewhere lacked a little in spreading booster dose awareness…. People in rural setups are still scared about taking (the) booster (dose) because of myths about vaccines being circulated everywhere.”
Dr Seema Rudrappa Mahabale, reproductive and child health officer, Bengaluru Rural said: “The immunity we get… keeps tapering. Taking a booster (dose) can help humans generate antibodies. One of the main reasons to take a booster vaccine is because the virus keeps changing its strains. These vaccines will help us to be ready to face any mutations. People have lost the fear of Covid. Lack of awareness about vaccines is the main reason for people not taking jabs…. It is their responsibility to make sure that they are safe. People are negligent towards doctors, they don’t really consider doctors’ words, and they speak about natural immunity and their own methods of immunizing themselves.”
No study has proved that people will have serious health issues if they take a vaccine. “Yes, we do see a very less number of people having health issues after taking the vaccine, but (it is) not solely because of the vaccine,” she added.
Dr Arundhathi Chandrashekar, mission director, National Health Mission, informed The Observer: “Covid numbers have reduced, but Covid still exists and we see dynamic changes with regard to virus and its mutations across the globe. Vaccines are available for free, but people are not coming forward to take the shot…. People think we are all back to pre-Covid, but if you see…, people came in large numbers only during the second wave. Knowledge and reach are quite good and people are aware about the booster dose. We are doing a lot of awareness (campaigns) in rural areas and panchayats, but the response is not as well as expected. We can’t force people. It is all about people’s mentality.”
“We have sufficient doses to immunize the state. The government of India is ready to supply as and when we are out of stock. We achieved a good response for the first two doses.”
Booster vaccines are available free of cost in government hospitals and Public Health Centres.