Express News Service
PATNA: Bihar has yet again set a record for single-day COVID-19 vaccinations. On Tuesday, the state health department inoculated over 27 lakh persons across Bihar including districts that were affected by the floods.
In a mega vaccination drive launched to achieve the target of “six crore people in six months”, the health department has set up several vaccination sites across Bihar. Pratyay Amrit, additional chief secretary of health and the man behind this drive, spoke to The New Indian Express correspondent from Patna Rajesh Kumar Thakur.
Q. How was Bihar’s performance in the mega vaccination drive conducted on Tuesday?
Pratyay Amrit (PA): It was a record of sorts. By vaccinating 27,21,935 persons on Tuesday alone, we left behind states like Uttar Pradesh (15,46,817), Andhra Pradesh (12,30,517), West Bengal (12,24,562) and Madhya Pradesh (9,54,668). We are working on a mission mode to fully vaccinate the state by achieving a first-ever target of ‘six crore in six months’. We hope this comes true when people turn up spontaneously at vaccination sites and those at the health department keep their spirits high to accomplish this goal. On the national level, India has a record of 1,32,45,266 people who were vaccinated in a single day.
Q. At a time when at least 17 districts are reeling under the floods, how is your department managing the mega vaccination drive?
PA: The drive is uninterrupted even for districts under floods. Our department has introduced vaccination units on boats which transport health workers to flooded areas to inoculate those living in these areas apart from people taking shelter in relief camps. These teams also accompany doctors to meet any medical emergencies. The health department is also running Tika Express vans which travel to the interiors of the districts. These vans are receiving a good response from people.
Q. How many sites did the department set up in Bihar to ramp up the vaccination on August 31? Is this mega drive the first ever in the state?
PA: Yes, this was the first such drive in the state. On August 31, more than 10000 vaccination centres were set up. These were manned by 13000 health workers and 15000 data operators and other personnel. Earlier last month, on August 5, 9,26,000 people were vaccinated. On the occasion of International Women’s Day in March, 2,02,137 people were vaccinated and 1,35,575 people were vaccinated on March 12. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and health minister Mangal Pandey, who continued to motivate the health workers, have also congratulated us for setting this record.
Q. Apart from vaccination, what is the status of Bihar on the testing front and detection of fresh COVID cases as of now?
PA: Bihar has tested over 4.18 crore people so far and in the last 24 hours, 1,48,989 tests were conducted. Bihar has so far conducted 4,18,45,097 COVID tests. As far as the new cases are concerned, only eight new infections were detected in the last 24 hours across five out of 38 districts. The recovery rate has reached 98.65% with only 99 active cases. Of these the number of those under treatment include 18 in Saharsa, 16 in Patna and 10 in Madhepura. Out of 725708 testing positive since 2020, 715955 have recovered. The number of deceased stands at 9,653 persons.
Q. What is the response of people towards vaccination since the state has reported hesitancy?
PA: The response is more than encouraging. So much so that we had to set up additional camps. A number of these sites in the urban areas had to work till late in the night to vaccinate residents. Giving an example, in Arwal district, when schools reopened, many students motivated their parents to get the vaccine. After this, many elders came forward and took the jab. Several vaccination sites turned into fair like sights with vendors coming forward to sell items to those queued up to get the vaccine.Vaccination in Bihar has received a festival-like enthusiasm. “Hum honge kamyab ek din” (we will be successful one day) in making Bihar fully vaccinated.