Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday blamed 'casual' attitude for the low turnout for the first two phases of the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the state.
Speaking to reporters at the State Secretariat, Rane also sought flexibility in identifying target groups and individuals for the vaccination programme, saying if some eligible persons enrolled on the central vaccination portal skip the designated appointment, the vaccine can be administered to others instead.
"What can be done? We are sending out messages, but ultimately it is on him (enrolled health and frontline worker). Many times people take it casually and don't turn up. Then he loses his chance. But actually it is in his interest, because it is supposed to be a good vaccine," Rane told reporters.
"Mobile messages are sent, they are delivered, but if no one turns up, what else should we do? Should we send a vehicle to their homes along with the messages?" the Health Minister also said.
Currently, there are around 18,000 odd health workers who are registered on the vaccination portal, out of which around 10,000 have been vaccinated. The turnout rate is even lower in the case of frontline workers who are eligible for vaccination.
Rane said that a little bit of flexibility in selection of persons for vaccination would make the drive more efficient. Under current norms, the rollout of the vaccination drive including the list of persons selected for vaccination on a particular day is finalised and frozen by central agencies, allowing no manoeuverability for state administration to tinker with the daily roster.
"Some people are not taking vaccines. You cannot force someone to take vaccines, even if their name comes (up)... I think we have to spread the spectrum, so that we do not waste the vaccination (effort). If someone does not come, we should be in a position to give someone else the vaccine," Rane said.