Efforts on to beat vax hesitancy in M’laya


SHILLONG, May 17: Hesitancy among the people, especially healthcare workers, in taking the COVID-19 vaccine has become a major challenge for the Meghalaya government.
Officials said the government has been trying to address safety concerns and convince frontline workers who are still hesitant about taking the vaccine. Becoming infertile is one of the fears.
Reacting to media reports, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Sampath Kumar said 75% of the health workers have so far taken the jab. The department held a meeting on overcoming the hesitancy of the remaining health workers who have not been vaccinated.
A survey by the Indian Institute of Public Health, Shillong on vaccine hesitancy showed a high vaccine hesitancy (42%) persists among health care workers (HCW) in the state capital.
The survey also said vaccine hesitancy is least among doctors but high among nurses (41%) and other allied health workers (50%) as well as non-medical frontline workers (42%) and non-medical support staff (>47%)
Hesitancy is relatively less among HCWs in the public sector compared to the private sector, the report said.
The main reasons for vaccine hesitancy among HCW were found to be the lack of trustworthy sources of information, concern about adverse effects, confusing messages via social media, fear of injection or needles, the belief that natural immunity is enough and adverse effect of vaccination on fertility.
The data was based on the feedback from 2,096 employees of four hospitals, 871 of whom were hesitant about getting vaccinated.
Citing the study, Kumar said many health workers were not sure whether or not the vaccine would affect their fertility.
“We will have one-on-one training with them in the next three days to clear their doubts,” he said, adding that gynaecologists have reported about many health workers who became pregnant after taking their first dose.
“The vaccine is important for the safety of the pregnant health workers,” Kumar said.
Over 40% of 45+ group vaccinated
State Immunization Officer (SIO), Dr P. Manners on Monday informed that 2,19,316 citizens (roughly 41%) belonging to the 45+ category have been administered the first dose of Covishield vaccine while 28,223 among them have got their second dose as well, which
Dr Manners also informed that around all healthcare workers who had registered for the vaccine have been administered the first dose while around 35% have got the second jab.
Admitting that there was initial hesitancy among the 45 and above age group, Dr Manners said that the response has picked up. “The existing stock of vaccine earmarked for healthcare and frontline workers and the 45-plus citizens would last around 45 days,” the SIO added.
Referring to the 18-44 age group, Dr Manners said, “The response is good. The 42,000 doses would last till May 30.”