Despite providing more than 130 crore doses of Covid-19 jabs, India is set to miss the deadline to vaccinate all eligible population by the year-end. Adding to the woes is the fear of a fresh wave with the Omicron variant detected last month. Amid all this, several local bodies across India are giving a push to the vaccination drive by offering incentives ranging from free electronics and mobile phones in lucky draws to discounts in petrol and medicine prices.
While the Ahmedabad civic body is offering a mobile phone worth Rs 60,000 to a lucky draw contest winner, the Hingoli Municipal Council in Maharashtra has decided to motivate people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by offering them prizes like LED televisions, refrigerators and washing machines. The authorities have decided to organise a lucky draw on December 27 for city residents who get vaccinated between December 2 and 24.
Similarly, the Chandrapur Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra has also announced a vaccination bumper lucky draw as it offered refrigerator, washing machine and LED television set as first, second and third prizes, respectively. The draw was for people who get vaccinated at the civic-run centres between November 12 and 24.
Nuh, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Haryana, is offering discounts on medicines, free helmets and dinner sets for the vaccinated. The administration tied up with traders to incentivise people and some petrol pump dealers have offered a discount of 50 paise per litre to fully vaccinated people. Further, the local chemist association has also agreed to offer a 5% discount on medicines to those who have taken their first dose and a discount of 10% to the fully vaccinated.
While some local bodies are pushing the vaccination drive with incentives, several state governments have decided to bar the unvaccinated from public transport and places.
The Kerala government last week said that it will not provide free treatment to Covid-19 patients who have not been vaccinated. Earlier this month, after India’s very first Omicron cases were detected in Karnataka, the state government has banned unvaccinated people from public life. It also made it compulsory for the parents of children below 18 years of age, who are going to schools or colleges, to get fully vaccinated.
On Sunday, the Puducherry government announced that the Covid-19 vaccination is compulsory in the UT with immediate effect.
While there are no such official announcements, it is proposed that the Delhi government will ask the Delhi Disaster Management Authority to make the first dose of anti-Covid vaccine mandatory by December 15 for entry to public places. It may also incentivise people with cash prizes, discounts and lottery so that more and more people take the jabs. Mumbai is also said to be mulling ideas to impose fines on unvaccinated people and bar them from accessing public transport.
Not just states, but some districts are also imposing restrictions on unvaccinated people. The Aurangabad district administration in Maharashtra has adopted a strict policy as it announced that citizens who are unvaccinated will not receive petrol, gas or ration. Moreover, such people will also not have access to tourist places in the district.
Similarly, the Madurai district administration has announced that unvaccinated people will not be allowed to enter a number of public places from December 12.
India started its vaccination drive against coronavirus on January 16 and was aiming to vaccinate all by the year-end. However, more than 13 crore people are yet to get their first dose as of date. As per the Union government data, up to November 30, at least 12.5 crore people are due for second dose after completion of stipulated interval.