As Gujarat stares in the face of a third wave of Covid-19 with commercial capital Ahmedabad driving the growing numbers at an average 1,000 a day, the much-touted aggressive vaccination across the State woefully lags behind in the walled city.
If the city accounted for 1,835 out of the total 4,213 fresh Covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours as on Thursday evening, the numbers were 1,637 and 3,350 on Wednesday evening. In all, the city has reported over 2.44 lakh cases out of more than 10 lakh in Gujarat since 2020.
According to estimates and a whistle-stop survey by Vibes of India, a mind-boggling 50% population in the walled city may not have taken even the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, which claims to have covered 80% population by its aggressive inoculation campaign, has been found to be lackadaisical in promoting the vaccine in the walled city areas.
Several appeals have been made to the people to shrug off their vaccine hesitancy right from the chief minister to the city mayor, but the AMC’s efforts haven’t been beyond these. The way awareness campaigns were and are being undertaken in several other areas, the AMC has remained apathetic to the walled city. The civic body had even announced awards for vaccination but it has not worked.
Officially, as on January 6 evening, the municipal corporation claimed that 50,65,380 people had taken the first jab while only 36,61,219 had taken the second dose — a huge gap of 14,04,161 doses. And an estimated 50% of those who have not taken even the first dose in the city are in the walled city.
The city’s population according to the 2011 Census was nearly 56 lakh and considering the areas under a greater expanded Ahmedabad, it has been estimated around 80 lakh.
However, when contacted, AMC’s Health Committee chairman Bharat Patel maintained that there was no slackness in vaccination. He claimed, “ASHA workers are visiting door to door to encourage people to get vaccinated. There is no slackness.”
Notwithstanding the claim, a random survey by Vibes of India through Raikhad and Jamalpur areas in the walled city, for instance, revealed that ASHA workers had touched base with hardly a few people.
A confirmation of sorts came from the Jamalpur-Khadia legislator Imran Khedawala from the Congress party. When asked, he told Vibes of India, “People in my constituency are still reluctant to get themselves vaccinated. When I took my dose a few days ago, I had issued an appeal to the people to take the jab.”
“Not only this, I convinced religious leaders too to appeal to the people to get vaccinated. We will undertake a renewed campaign again and organise special inoculation camps,” Khedawala added.