Bihar vaccine India covid
A medic gives the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a woman at a government dispensary in Patna on Monday, April 19, 2021. Image Credit: ANI

Patna: The Bihar government has announced attractive gifts for those who take the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to boost vaccination coverage and fully inoculate the state’s 73.44 million eligible adult population.

In an effort to encourage the masses to get fully vaccinated, the state health department has announced attractive gifts such as television sets, refrigerators, mixer grinders, ceiling fans, cooking gas and even blankets to those who take the second jab. The prizes will be given through lucky draws. The offer will start from November 27 and close on December 31.

“We have launched this unique initiative to encourage the people to take the second shot and get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A single dose can’t give full protection to them,” Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey said on Thursday.

According to the health minister, a total of 2,670 people will be given bumper prizes at the block level while 26,700 will get consolation prizes. Apart from these, a grand prize will be given at the district level, the minister said, adding those taking the vaccines within seven days of the date fixed for the second dose would be eligible for participating in the lucky draw competitions.

The health department was prompted to launch this idea after a similar offer introduced by a village councillor Manzoor Khan in Katihar district proved to be a big hit, drawing impressive numbers of people at the vaccination centres in June. The councillor had gifted various items such as TV sets to beneficiaries turning up at the vaccination centres to get the vaccines.

Bihar’s second dose vaccination coverage remains low. According to a report of the health department, the state has administered 77.23 million COVID-19 vaccine doses till Wednesday (November 24). Of them, 53.21 million have taken the first shot while 24.02 million are fully vaccinated. Now, the health department wants to inoculate most of its eligible adult population by the year-end.

According to reports, more than 100 million people in India had not turned up for their scheduled second vaccine dose till the first week of this month. Reports further stated that nearly 70% of India’s population have received at least a single dose of vaccine, but just 30% are fully vaccinated with both doses. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bihar together account for around 49 per cent of such beneficiaries who are late for their second dose of vaccine.

Apart from announcing gifts, the state health department has also started door-to-door vaccination of people who have refused to show interest in vaccination despite repeated appeals by the government. The health department has identified 15.3 million houses located in 534 blocks of the state which are to be touched during the door-to-door campaign.

Officials said they had engaged 5,852 health workers in this campaign. According to them, one motorcycle mobile team has been constituted for every 125 houses in the rural areas. COVID-19 has killed a total of 9,663 people in Bihar so far, according to a report of the state health department.