People forced to try their luck at camps

K. Thenmozhi was among hundreds of people who waited in front of the government-run COVID-19 vaccination centre at Periyanaickenpalayam on Saturday. The district administration on Friday informed that a camp would be held on Saturday.

The centre, however, did not receive the 120 doses of vaccine, 100 doses of Covishield and 20 doses of Covaxin, as announced by the district administration.

Those assembled in front of the vaccination centre including those who came before 6 a.m. were forced to leave the place after waiting till 1 p.m. By the time the Health Department diverted nearly 100 doses of vaccine from another government hospital, most of the people including Ms. Thenmozhi had left.

“I would not have come if they announced in advance that the camp would not be held,” she said.

Though the hospital staff tried to explain people that it did not receive the stock, many did not believe it. Some people went to a camp held in a government school at Narasimhanaickenpalayam where hundreds of people were waiting from as early as 4.30 a.m. The centre was allotted 600 doses.

Government schools at Narasimhanaickenpalayam, Madukkarai, Kalampalayam and Government Hospital, Sulur, were the only places where vaccination camps were held for the general public in Coimbatore district on Saturday.

A total of 2,270 doses were allocated for the general public through these camps while centres in Coimbatore Corporation limits did not receive any dose.

“If camps are conducted in the same manner, with limited allocation of doses, it will take more than a year to vaccinate the whole people in the district,” said an official involved in the vaccination programme who did not want to be named.

The official pointed out that the State was not getting enough vaccine to conduct regular camps through government-run vaccination centres from the Centre.

Message does not reach public

Consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon blamed that the district administration and the Health Department utterly failed in taking the message on vaccination camps to the public properly.

“The district administration and the Health Department thinks that information on vaccination camps reaches the public if press releases are sent to the media, which is also done very late every day. They do not check whether the information reaches the public. I came across many people who had come to camps without knowing about the type of vaccine being administered and the age category permitted. Authorities should ensure that details about vaccination camps reaches the public in advance,” he said.

He added that WhatsApp groups in local level could be used to disseminate information. The Deputy Director of Health Services, whom the The Hindu tried to reach, was not available for comments.

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