Kashmir’s 75% population fully vaccinated now: ACS Health

Kashmir’s 75% population fully vaccinated now: ACS Health
A health worker administers a COVID-19 jab to a man in Srinagar's Lal Chowk amid a rise in the daily reported cases in the district.Mubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: J&K Government today said that its COVID19 mitigation measures were intensive in approach and expansive in scope and that increase in testing and vaccination numbers was the main strategy to help combat the impact of the Pandemic in coming months.

While speaking to Greater Kashmir in an exclusive interview, Additional Chief Secretary Health and Medical Education, Vivek Bhardwaj said though the cases were rising, the number of admissions were “very low”. He said the number of tests carried out in Kashmir had fallen down to around 30,000 because thousands of people were coming in from outside and although they required to get tested earlier, but now a majority had a vaccination certificate and didn’t need to be tested.

“This in turn brought the testing figures down,” he said, adding that the officials and DCs were directed to ramp up testing. “It is very tough to find people to be tested now,” he said. The sampling across the many districts, including Srinagar, has now been increased and the government was able to test over 50,000 samples a day, the ACS said.

Bhardwaj said that testing booths outside community halls were in the process of being set up because it was realized that weddings and similar events, where a number of people gather and mix together, are super-spreading events. “Earlier in the week, we carried out testing at a wedding in Ramban and found out we had 18 positives in a single wedding function,” he said. In order to avert any such spurt, it is important to ensure testing at all such gatherings, he said.

Regarding the case rise in many districts, he said, Kashmir was still in the green zone, even district Srinagar where the number of positive cases was continuously high. “We are on the borderline in Srinagar,” he said.

The fact that Kashmir’s full-vaccination status has gone beyond two-third and even Srinagar’s uptake of second dose has reached 75 percent, he said, was a reassurance. “With good vaccination, we are confident that the district would not fare too badly,” he hoped. While deliberating the “changed strategy” to increase the vaccine coverage in Srinagar, Bhardwaj said the number of teams dispensing the vaccine in Srinagar was brought up by employing teams from the neighboring districts for the task. “It was also ensured that there was no stock-out because if a person goes for vaccination and finds it is unavailable, it will be a long time before he or she returns again,” he said.

In addition, a stock vaccination plan and reserve stock plan was put in place coupled with a door-to-door vaccination drive. “The myth and rumours about fertility and vaccination was addressed with short videos of women who had conceived post becoming infected or after vaccination,” he said. He further said that there was a good uptake of vaccines in pregnant women across districts at present.

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