Nuh, a Meo Muslims-dominated district of Haryana, languishes at the bottom of the table for vaccination coverage in the State with administration of around 11% of the targeted doses so far against the State average of 16%.
To ramp up the numbers, the district authorities have now decided to rope in local “celebrities” — sportspersons, actors, and achievers — to dispel misgivings on the vaccine and encourage people’s participation in the immunisation drive.
Conceding that the vaccination coverage in the district was far from satisfactory, Deputy Commissioner Capt. Shakti Singh said the authorities had taken several measures to encourage people to take part in the vaccination drive and had now decided to rope in local “celebrities”.
He said these local “celebrities” could be sportspersons, actors, or even those who have cleared competitive exams and are trusted and looked upon with respect. “Also, we want to rope in doctors belonging to the district even if they are settled outside to convince people to get vaccinated,” said Capt. Singh.
The administration is also in talks with Indian Idol winner Salman Ali, a local, for this.
The recorded video message of these celebrities would be disseminated through social media to influence the locals.
Only 81,818 vaccine doses were administered in the district till June 9, the lowest in the State.
Capt. Singh attributed the low vaccination coverage to “general distrust” among the locals about the welfare schemes initiated by the government, besides “misinformation campaign” against the vaccination on social media and illiteracy.
The administration also reached out to the masses through social and religious leaders and the results were encouraging, said Capt. Singh, adding that there was also a sense of fear among the people in the wake of the second wave and they were now willing to getting the jab.
The figures also showed almost ten fold increase in the vaccination data for the past two months compared with the first three months.
60% above 18 years
District Immunisation Officer Basant Pandey said the district has an estimated 12 lakh local population and 60% of them were above 18 years. He said that vaccination coverage was better in Tauru and Ferozepur Jhirka blocks compared to other blocks.
Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislative Party and Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed said poor health infrastructure had shaken the faith of the common man in the wake of the second wave and people had lost faith in the administration.