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COVID crisis: Shunning inhibitions, Kashmiris throng vaccination centers to receive jab

KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar: Only a month before, 40 -year-old Muneer Ahmad was adamant not to receive a COVID-19 jab given the myths and misconceptions about vaccinations. He would justify his hesitancy with the dwindling cases of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir.

A month later when the second COVID-19 wave unleashed fear among people, Ahmad’s attitude changed and he finally received a jab at his nearest dispensary.

“Doctors have come clear about vaccines that it increases one’s immunity to fight against COVID-19 infection. All the rumors about blood clot formation and infertility were just myths,” he said.

KM/Umar Ganie

Three months after being launched in Jammu and Kashmir, Covid vaccination in Jammu and Kashmir has finally picked up as the union territory has become one of the most affected states in India.

In less than two weeks, more than seven lakh people have been inoculated in Jammu and Kashmir. As per the data, 1,462,383 beneficiaries were vaccinated till April 14, which has gone up to 2174372 till April 26.

Till April 27, 1088525 people have received jabs in Kashmir; while in Jammu 1085847 have been inoculated.

In Jammu and Kashmir, where a total of 1,66,054 people has been infected with COVID-19, the highest spike of 3164 positive cases was recorded on Tuesday. Srinagar is one of the most affected districts where 1144 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Given the current scare, a long queue of people is seen outside the hospitals and vaccination centers, where people wait for their turn to receive a jab.

At many vaccination centers, vaccines fall short to the number of people turning up for inoculation.

As per the officials, the registration for vaccination too has intensified in the union territory during the last one month.

They said the union territory has witnessed a marked shift in the attitude of the people towards the COVID-19 vaccine. “We even receive people below 30 years age who want to receive a jab. We often end up telling them that their vaccination will start from May 1,” they said.

At Government Medical College Srinagar, the number of beneficiaries for Covid-19 vaccination has increased 10 times during the last one month. “At the beginning of this month, we would receive some 60 people for vaccination. Now on average daily, we inoculate as many as 600 people. People have now realized that it is the only way to control the spread of COVID-19,” said  Muhammad Salim Khan,  Professor, and Head, Department of Community Medicine at GMC Srinagar.

In Kashmir, religious leaders, scholars, and doctors have cleared the myths and called for mass participation in the vaccination process.