Amid low vax turnout, Goa CM launches Tika Utsav2.0

Amid reluctance among people in the age group above 45 years to vaccinate themselves, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has announced another outreach programme.

It will involve government officials fanning out across villages and municipal areas to reach out to nearly 40 per cent of the population of 45-plus who have eluded the Covid shot.

Sawant’s Tika Utsav 2.0 will be launched on Wednesday, even as top officials claim that the ongoing Covid curfew and the aftermath of cyclone Tauktae appear to have deterred people above 45 years from appearing for vaccination.

“Through the Tika Utsav 2.0, we will reach everyone (above 45 years) and get them vaccinated. From May 26, the Tika Utsav will reach all gram panchayats and municipalities. We had started Tika Utsav in 168 places last time, we will cover more places now,” Sawant said.

Sawant said that the Tika Utsav 2.0 was aimed at giving the first vaccination dose to the 40 percent of the population above 45 years and would not facilitate administering of the second dose.

“We have seen that in the 45 and above years category, we have not been able to cover 100 per cent.

After the Goa government started Tika Utsav, almost sixty per cent in this category had got themselves vaccinated. Nearly forty percent in this category still need to be vaccinated,” Sawant said.

The Tika Utsav concept was first launched on a pan-India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April to maximise vaccination coverage during the outset of the second wave of infections.

Sawant said that all elected representatives including MLAs, village panchas and city councillors would be involved in the Tika Utsav 2.0 exercise.

The follow-up initiative has been undertaken, Sawant said, because the government was “getting a poor response at our vaccination centres”.

According to Jagdish Kakodkar, who heads the department of Preventive Medicine at the Goa Medical College and the member secretary of a state government’s experts’ panel related to Covid, there was a reluctance among people at large to get themselves vaccinated.

“Perhaps due to the curfew, perhaps due to stormy weather, people are not coming in the required number for vaccination. Vaccines are the best hope. Wherever there are more vaccines (administered) the deaths are low and cases are less,” Kakodkar said.