KOLKATA: The state crossed the 9-crore jab mark on Thursday when more than 4,000 vaccination sites were activated across Bengal. So far, around 86% of the state’s eligible population has been covered with the first dose. About 38% have received both the doses. According to health officials, vaccine supply is in abundance now and plans are afoot to optimise the inoculation drive further.
With 1.5 crore vaccine doses in the state kitty, health officials pressed 4,229 vaccination sites into action on Thursday. By 6pm, close to 5 lakh doses had been administered to reach the 9 crore milestone.
“We had achieved the 8-crore mark on November 3. Now with one more crore jabs administered in the past 22 days, we have now achieved the 9-crore milestone,” said state family welfare officer Ashim Das Malakar.
The state health machinery started speeding up the drive since September as the supply of vaccines became more stable. Around 3 crore doses were administered in September and October. The inoculation drive lost its momentum during the Durga Puja even as the government kept the drive open. But officials ensured to resume the speed after the festivity.
With about 86% of the adult population having received the first dose, the state currently is giving more thrust on the second dose. “About 20% to 25% jabs administered is the first dose while the rest is spent on inoculating second-dose recipients,” said Das Malakar.
Currently, more stress is being given to a few districts where the first dose coverage is still below 80%. These districts are Malda, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur and Rampurhat health district.
According to health officials, vaccine vials are now arriving in the state almost daily. On Thursday, 10 lakh doses arrived, adding to the state’s stock of vaccines. Due to the vaccine abundance in government CVCs, most private CVCs now wear a deserted look. The state has been administering above 6 lakh doses daily over the past few days.
“We will be targeting to administer anything between 6 lakh and 10 lakh doses per day as we have enough vials in our stock,” said a health department official. The state has also roped in NGOs to conduct door-to-door search for people who have not taken a single dose or have missed out on the second dose. Currently, the campaign is being initiated in districts, like the two Parganas, Malda and Murshidabad.
By maintaining a good inoculation pace, Bengal already has pipped states like Gujarat and Rajasthan that were ahead earlier. Currently, West Bengal holds the third position — after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra — as far as dispensing the highest number of doses goes.