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Major urban-rural gap mars vaccine rollout in Noida, Ghaziabad | Noida News – Times of India


GHAZIABAD/NOIDA: Ever since the Covid vaccine rollout started for all, a big gap has been emerging between Noida and Ghaziabad’s urban and rural areas — leaving a chunk of the population vulnerable to the virus.
Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad have managed to inoculate only a fraction of its rural population from April 1 till now, while the urban areas have received a lion’s share of the vaccinations. In Ghaziabad, only 1.6 lakh of the total 11 lakh rural population has been given at least one dose. In GB Nagar, only about a lakh of its 5 lakh rural population have been inoculated at least once.
The reason is “significant vaccine hesitancy” in villages, according to officials concerned. “The concerns are myriad — from fears of dying after getting the shot to rumours of impotency. The villagers also assert they don’t need vaccines because of their lifestyle,” said executive officer (Dasna nagar panchayat) Manoj Kumar Mishra.
GB Nagar district magistrate Suhas LY said that the situation is dire in the district but it’s slowly changing for the better.
“People are not as hesitant as they were before. However, in some pockets we still have to take much effort despite conducting several vaccination drives,” he added.
Out of the total 6.42 lakh doses given to Ghaziabad residents, only 1.6 lakh (or 25%), has been used in rural areas. In GB, out of the 7.5 lakh doses, only 1 lakh (14%) has been used in rural vaccination centres. In Ghaziabad, there are about 27.3 lakh people eligible for vaccination in the entire district and in Noida, the number is nearly 11.9 lakh. What is giving a fillip to the vaccination drive is the mandatory vaccination certificate being asked by several employers, said officials.
“Many companies that employ daily wagers, delivery boys, drivers and shop staff ask for vaccination certificate. This category of staff stays in rural areas and villages around the sectors. They need to take the jab to keep their jobs — this helped increase vaccination in several rural pockets,” said a senior health official in GB Nagar.
He added that despite increased awareness in the rural parts of Noida, only around 20% of the targeted population has been vaccinated so far. He added that the percentage has been lower in villages with more minority populations, especially in the Jewar block. This holds true for Ghaziabad where the administration is facing issues in getting people vaccinated in Dasna, which is a minority-dominated area.
Ghaziabad district magistrate RK Singh said he is aware of the problem. “Apart from awareness drives, we are also seeking help from Muslim clerics to help convince people to get vaccinated,” he informed.
He added: “From 8% in March this year, it has reached 25% now.”
Masoor Abbasi, a prominent Muslim cleric in Ghaziabad, said: “We have been making announcements from mosques in an attempt to dispel the myths surrounding vaccination. In many cases, I have met residents and educated them about Covid.”

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