Vaccination acceptance growing, say authorities

Jabs restrict severity of Omicron and help to reduce mortality

As the vaccination drive gets under way, physicians say that the public seems to have understood that prevention is better than cure during a pandemic. Despite battling misconceptions and contradictory reports on the potency (or not) of the corona virus and Omicron variant, more people have voluntarily opted for vaccination this time.

“It is a myth that COVID-19 vaccination offers no protection against Omiciron infection; the truth is that it actually reduces the disease severity and mortality when compared to unvaccinated persons,” A. Subramani, Deputy Director of Health Services, said. In Tiruchi, 88% of adults over 18 years had taken their first dose, and 58.4% had taken their second, while 81% of children from 15-18 years of age had received their first dose, he added.

The rumour that Omicron variant may be milder is unfounded, said Dr. M. Hakkim, emergency physician in charge of the vaccination drive within the city limits. “Though we are seeing it as less severe than its predecessor variants, Omicron is still dangerous. The good thing about the vaccination drive this time is that people have become motivated to either step up for their first dose or complete their second dose,” he said.

Dedicated campaigns to raise awareness about vaccination and COVID-safe behaviour have helped as well, said the physicians. “Initially most people were reluctant to take the vaccine because of safety concerns. But after we succeeded in vaccinating all our healthcare and frontline workers, the efficacy of the inoculation was proved,” said Dr. Subramani.

Socio-economic disparity did not play a role in the drive, he added. “In fact, the percentage of rural vaccination is higher than the urban.”

Vaccination hesitancy was reported, but has slowly been replaced by acceptance. “Tiruchi’s young demographic has been focused on pandemic data, and the data clearly indicates that the need to hospitalise decreases significantly in people who have taken vaccination,” said Dr. Hakkim.

As the demand for booster doses grows, many more are still to complete their earlier schedule. “Around three lakh eligible persons in Tiruchi district are yet to get their second dose; this will help to prevent mortality during the third wave,” said Dr. Subramani.

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