Reluctance among healthcare and frontline workers to get vaccinated

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 1 Mar: Compared to the rest of the country, healthcare and frontline workers in Arunachal have shown more willingness to get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19, but the data suggest that there are not many takers.

Of the total 61,948 identified beneficiaries consisting of healthcare and frontline workers, which include police personnel and anganwadi workers, 25,398 have come forward to get themselves inoculated, according to the health department’s data of Sunday.

Of the 61,948, 24,636 are healthcare workers. Till now 14,360 health workers have come forward for vaccination.

Health Secretary P Parthiban said that only 30 percent of the doctors in the state have come forward for vaccination, while  among the anganwadi workers, only 20 percent came for vaccination.

He said that vaccination among home department personnel started picking up after the home secretary and the DGP got vaccinated.

He said that the department is working towards convincing more healthcare and frontline workers to get themselves vaccinated.

Changlang, Lohit, Papum Pare and Upper Subansiri have the least numbers of healthcare and frontline workers who volunteered for vaccination.

The vaccination was started on 16 January along with the rest of the country.

The secretary said that the department expects a better outcome as those who are eligible for vaccination can just walk into the designated centres to get themselves vaccinated, compared to the earlier case where one had to pre-book.

This daily spoke to some doctors, nurses and sanitary and anganwadi workers to know the reason behind their reluctance to get the vaccine. Most of them cited health reasons.

A doctor in his late 40s with comorbidities said that he did not get vaccinated because he was not too sure about the efficacy of the vaccine.

Now that the government has rolled out vaccination for people over 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities, will he take the vaccine?

He will, but after some more weeks, he said.

Another doctor said that she did not take the vaccination, though her husband, who is also a doctor, took the vaccination, because she is waiting to know about the efficacy of the vaccination.

Many of those who opted out of the vaccination programme are pregnant women. They say that trial was not conducted on pregnant women, so they don’t want to take the risk.

The World Health Organization had in January said that it does not recommend the vaccination of pregnant women at this time due to insufficient data.

One anganwadi worker said that there is not enough information regarding the vaccine. She said that her family has encouraged her not to take the vaccination till they are sure about the efficacy of the vaccine.

A sanitation worker said that she is still considering whether to take the vaccine because she is scared of the aftereffects of the vaccine.

“I am confused,” she said, informing that most of her colleagues did not have any side effects but some had body ache and slight fever for days.

A nurse said that she did not take the vaccination because of fear of the future. She said that she would stick to masks, sanitizers and physical distancing than get vaccinated.

Arunachal has recorded 16,000 plus positive cases with 56 deaths. As of Monday, there is one positive case after more than a week of zero active cases.

The health secretary has advised caution, adding that there should not be any compromise on following the Covid-19 protocol – mask up, wash hands and avoid gatherings.

Courtesy : Dept of health, Arunachal Pradesh