New Delhi : A national interactive webinar for the media was organised by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare today to further strengthen awareness about the month-long Har Ghar Dastak campaign which aims to ensure that all the adult population is covered with the first dose of COVID vaccine, while those who are due for the second doses are also motivated to take the second dose. ‘HarGharDastak’ which means knocking at every door, aims to reach out to those eligible adult population who have either not taken their first dose or for some reason have missed their second dose. Healthcare workers will conduct door-to-door vaccinations of eligible people across India with a special focus on districts where less than 50 per cent of the eligible population has been vaccinated.
The interactive webinar was addressed by Dr Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. He said that going by India’s current vaccination pace we can claim with confidence that the world’s largest adult vaccination programme is well on track since its launch on 16 January 2021. To date, about 79 per cent of the eligible population in India has been vaccinated against Covid-19 with the first dose, while another 38 per cent have been fully vaccinated. In several states, 100% of the adult population has received the first dose of the vaccine. He expressed confidence that with India’s current vaccine delivery capacity, the entire adult population will soon be covered.
While enthusiasm for vaccines has been growing fast, the last mile coverage comes with its own set of unique challenges. There could be several reasons for some people for not taking the vaccine, including accessibility issues for people who are living in remote areas, the continuing fear of side effects and lingering vaccine hesitancy in some communities. Dr Agnani observed that through this campaign, the country’s frontline health workers are addressing several such issues on the ground that are preventing people from taking the COVID19 vaccine. The campaign also envisages close collaboration with local religious and community leaders and other agencies and organisations such Central Statistics Office (CSO), non-government organisations, NSS, etc to motivate people who have not taken their vaccine. Multimedia information, education & communication (IEC) campaign will be designed to counter anti-vaccine rumours; and to emulate innovative approaches and practices followed by high coverage districts within the States/UTs.
While addressing queries from the participating media persons, Dr Agnani stressed on the importance of taking both the vaccine doses. He also urged the media persons to motivate people through positive stories. Thanking the media for their continued support, he requested them for fighting the last vestiges of lingering hesitancy in some pockets of the country.
The webinar was attended by officers from PIB, DD, AIR, RoBs, UNICEF state offices, private FM radio, community radio stations, online and print media from across India.