Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India: A remote village of Jammu and Kashmir becomes the first village of the country to vaccinate entire populations above 18 years against COVID-19.
This national record is attributed to ‘J&K Model’ under which the administration decided to reach out to the people, instead of people coming to the vaccination centre.
Due to the difficult terrain of the area, the vaccinators had walked 18 km on foot to reach the village, as per the Governor’s office.
Dr. Bashir Ahmed Khan, Chief Medical Officer, Bandipora said, “It is a village of Nomads and has no access to the internet, so the health officials decided to take a difficult journey in this north Kashmir village and save precious lives. There is no route and it is a very dangerous trek, but we did not rest until the last eligible person received the vaccine dose.”
With a total of 362 beneficiaries, the entire village population above 18 years has been vaccinated.
“It is pertinent to mention here that the people of the village go to the upper reaches along with cattle during summer so it was important to reach out to them before they move out,” Dr. Bashir added.
Double of the national average, the “J&K Model” has achieved vaccine coverage of more than 70 per cent for the above 45 years age category. This can be attributed to the 10-point strategy adopted by this model to vaccinate the entire eligible population at an accelerated pace.
Accrediting a maximum number of session sites in a day with well-coordinated vaccination efforts for the achievement, State Immunization Officer, Dr Shahid Hussain said, “We have also worked out prior micro-planning and execution at each session site and involved police and media in crowd management and awareness. We have constituted in every district a dedicated team of health care workers, who were ready to work even during holidays and weekends.”
“Despite having difficult terrain in areas like Shopian and Ganderbal, and poor mobile connectivity, the teams were relentless to vaccinate far reaching corners of the district, and deploying influencers such as religious leaders, local elders to counter vaccine hesitancy among people”, Hussain said