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The district administration and the Department of Health and Family Welfare will conduct a special vaccination drive before Deepavali to shore up the vaccination coverage across Mysuru district.

This was stated at the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meeting held here on Thursday and the plan is to administer 1 lakh vaccination dose on a single day during the drive.

Mysuru MP Pratap Simha who chaired the meet said that the vaccination drive started as early as in February and gained traction since July by when the vaccine hesitancy had dropped. So 87 per cent coverage of the first dosage was not something to be proud of and the department should strive to reach 100 per cent of the target population, he added.

District Health and Social Welfare Officer K.H. Prasad said Mysuru was above the State average but Mr. Simha said Mysuru was among the worst COVID-19 affected districts in the country and hence efforts should be to ensure that in terms of vaccination, the coverage was high.

The coverage in tribal-dominated areas was also pegged at 89 per cent of the population and Mr. Simha said that the district administration and the Department of Health should launch a drive to increase the coverage. “We had two massive drives in the recent past and despite it if the coverage was not 100 per cent then it called for renewed efforts’’, he added.

With respect to the second dose the district coverage was 49 per cent and 11, 96,000 people had received the second dose so far, according to the health officials who said they had a stockpile of 2 lakh vaccines.

Deputy Commissioner Bagadi Goutham said time has come for a massive drive involving the entire district administration as people were now becoming apathetic towards taking the vaccine and this was attributed to the decline in the number of active cases of COVID-19. He said a single-day drive can be conducted before Deepavali to administer 1 lakh doses and the second drive after the festival.

Mr. Simha suggested that the focus should be to administer Covishield vaccine and to avoid Covaxin especially in case of those who have plans to go abroad as the WHO was yet to give its nod for emergency use.

The district administration was also directed to ensure availability of at least 50 acres of land to establish a cancer centre in the city. The Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology was ready to establish a centre in Mysuru and this would shore up the quality of medical infrastructure in the city. “We are also in touch with NIMHANS to establish a centre in Mysuru and this will ensure that quality health care will be available not only to the people of Mysuru but will cater to the districts of Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Kodagu and Hassan’, said Mr. Simha.