Night vaccination drive in Kashmir villages draws encouraging response

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Healthcare workers have launched a night vaccination drive against Covid in three remote villages of Bandipora in north Kashmir, where males usually go out for grazing cattle during the day and return in the evening. Block Medical Officer (BMO) Bandipora Dr Masrat Iqbal told this paper that the drive is aimed at 100% vaccination of the north Kashmir district.

Three villages Kudara, Sumlar and Chandaji – have been chosen for the 7-11 pm slot since most males in these villages return only in the evening. “We changed our strategy – rather than they coming to us, we decided to reach their doorstep at night for their convenience,” he said. Health workers have to walk many kilometers to reach these three villages and stay overnight to be able to vaccinate the villagers.

“Had we not launched night vaccination, we would not have been able to vaccinate a large population of the district,” the BMO said. He said of the total 500 villagers falling in the 45-plus age group, 370 have been vaccinated during the night vaccination drive. “The left-outs will also be vaccinated in the coming days to achieve the 100% vaccination target,” said Dr Masrat. For vaccinating those in the 18-45-year age group, he said the administration was registering such people.

“After completing their registration, we will be vaccinating them too. About 1,000 villagers in the three villages fall in the category of the 18-45 age group,” said Dr Masrat. He said the night vaccination drive has received a good response from villagers as they don’t have to travel to vaccination centres.

He said due to rumours, there was some hesitancy among villagers initially, but with proper counseling and awareness, they have chosen to get vaccinated. The remote Weyan hamlet in Bandipora district was the first village in India where all adult population was vaccinated against the pandemic. “It was all possible due to our door-to-door vaccination campaign,” he said.

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