Do special vaccination campaigns work? Ask BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh! The former achieved its highest weekly vaccination number of over six million doses last week after a special drive on August 16. Madhya Pradesh will do a two-day special drive this week and aims to give first doses to all its 5.5 crore adults by end of September.
Some call such special drives as a gimmick, claiming that vaccine doses are hoarded by states for the designated day over earlier days which see low vaccination numbers. News18 spoke to senior officials in both states who said targets are given to district magistrates, advance reviews are done, state ministers are also put on the job for supervision and the special drives act as a mechanism to rev up the government machinery for the vaccination drive. Centre wants other states to do special drives too.
Sample this: Uttar Pradesh, presently at the number one spot in total jabs given in the country, did two big vaccinations drives this month, with 2.9 million doses given on August 3 and 2.4 million doses on August 16. Madhya Pradesh did a special drive last on June 21 giving 1.7 million doses and has fixed a two million dose target in a two-day drive on August 25-26. Madhya Pradesh aims to take over Gujarat within August to rise to number three spot in total jabs given, after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Focus on Second Jabs in Special Drives
Despite high total vaccination numbers in both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh at 6.42 crore and 4.01 crore respectively, both states are struggling in their second dose numbers. In Uttar Pradesh, only 1.02 crore people have so far got fully vaccinated while in Madhya Pradesh, this figure stands at 66 lakh. The Shivraj Chouhan government has said that second dose will be its priority during the two-day special drive and August 26 will be reserved for giving second doses to eligible people.
Over 60 percent of adults in Madhya Pradesh have got the first dose, making it now fix a target of vaccinating all 5.5 crore adults with the first dose by September. In Uttar Pradesh too, less than 5% of the total population has got the second dose and the state government has issued an appeal to people to get their second dose on time. During the special drive in Uttar Pradesh on August 16, out of 24.45 lakh doses given, only 1.86 lakh were second doses. On August 3, out of a record 29.5 lakh doses given in Uttar Pradesh, only 2.13 lakh were second doses.
Get Stamped, Post Selfies
Madhya Pradesh during its two-day special vaccination drive will also put a stamp on the back of every person’s hand getting a vaccine, mentioning if a person is single-vaccinated or fully-vaccinated. People will be encouraged to click a Selfie of themselves with the stamp and upload them on a government portal which will post them on social media. The Chief Minister has also issued an appeal stressing that getting both vaccine doses is important to get “93% protection from Covid-19.”
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