SRINAGAR: Villagers of Bandipora, in north Kashmir, depend on cattle for livelihood. They wander out to the forest for grazing cattle during the day and return in the evening. Taking a day off and visiting the vaccination center isn’t a choice for them. Block Medical Officer (BMO) Bandipora Dr. Masrat Iqbal, found a solution for this problem. Healthcare workers have launched a night vaccination drive against Covid, to reach out to all the people individually and vaccinate them.
Three villages named Kudara, Sumlar, and Chandaji – have been chosen for the 7-11 pm slot since most males in these villages return only in the evening. ‘We changed our strategy rather than they coming to us, we decided to reach their doorstep at night for their convenience,’ he said. Health workers have to walk many kilometers to reach these three villages and stay overnight to be able to vaccinate the villagers.
‘Had we not launched night vaccination, we would not have been able to vaccinate a large population of the district,’ the BMO said. 370 villagers falling in the 45-plus age group have been vaccinated during the night vaccination drive, from a total of 500 villagers. ‘The left-outs will also be vaccinated in the coming days to achieve the 100% vaccination target,’ said Dr. Masrat. For vaccinating those in the 18-45-year age group, he said the administration was registering such people.
‘After completing their registration, we will be vaccinating them too. About 1,000 villagers in the three villages fall in the category of the 18-45 age group,’ said Dr. Masrat. He said the night vaccination drive has received a good response from villagers as they don’t have to travel to vaccination centers.
‘There was some hesitancy among villagers initially, but with proper counseling and awareness, they have chosen to get vaccinated,’ the DMO added.