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Encouraging vaccine uptake

Akbarpur is one of the least vaccinated blocks of Nawada district in Bihar. The working population here is majorly involved in farm activities as marginal labourers and are usually engaged during harvest seasons.

The winter harvest season ‘katni’ is spread over the last months of a year and most people are involved in the farms throughout the day. They usually leave early in the morning and return after sunset. Time paucity is one of the major challenges here making it difficult to mobilize people to get vaccinated.

Field protocols in this block began with a small village, Navadi. As per the existing plan laid down by Primary Health Centre (PHC), a site session was supposed to be executed here, on 22nd December 2021. The PCI ground team aimed to leverage this event and maximize vaccination uptake.

To achieve maximum vaccination, the block coordinator along with VMC visited the village a couple of days before the site-session day. They listed all individuals eligible for COVID-19 vaccination to assist the execution of site-session. During line listing, the ground team emphasized refusal cases and counselled them during the process.

The VMC visited each house again a day before the planned site session to remind everyone about the vaccination camp. The ground team along with the PHC team had set a target of 100 vaccinations for the day. On the site-session day, the vaccination team reached by 8:00 AM to reach all the beneficiaries before they would leave for work.

Towards the closure of the site session, the team decided to switch to door-to-door mode as people had stopped coming to the site. Their prior efforts of marking refusal cases during line listing came in handy. They visited the beneficiaries who were hesitant earlier and addressed their doubts again. The presence of ANM during counselling helped convert a lot of refusal cases.

Joint efforts of the PHC and PCI team made this vaccination event a success. They were able to vaccinate 99 beneficiaries from the 100 targeted beneficiaries, of which 14 beneficiaries received their first dose and 85 received the second dose. The team educated the beneficiaries about possible AEFIs and whom to reach in case of an emergency. A few who received the first dose were also educated about their next due date.