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Incentives for vaccine-takers: Edible oil, mobile phones, rope way ride

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 19-10-2021 Sohini Ghosh
© Provided by The Indian Express

As total doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in India inched towards 100-crore mark, various civic bodies, NGOs and other firms are providing incentives to people who get themselves inoculated.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has resorted to providing one litre of edible oil and mobile phones via lucky draw to vaccine-takers, in order to cover the last mile of vaccination drive even as the city’s 99 per cent of vaccine-eligible population has been covered by the first dose and 52 per cent has got both doses. The civic body that also provides vaccination-at-home services has tied up with an NGO for the incentives.

Around 67,000 doses have been administered by through the oil incentive that started on October 10, according to the AMC. The same day, the civic body also announced that 25 vaccine takers will be given a Samsung mobile worth Rs 10,000 through a lucky draw and the winners were announced in a press note on October 14, an incentive totally funded by the AMC.

Usha Breco, the firm that developed the Girnar rope way in Junagadh as well as other rope ways across the country under the brand name “Udan Khatola”, announced free rides to those who were fully vaccinated, under its “Swabhiman Scheme” “to celebrate the moment India crosses the landmark of one billion or 100 crore vaccine doses,” a communication from its managing director Apurv Jhawar said.

Free rope way rides will be provided to the first 100 fully vaccinated visitors, across all locations in India. Visitors should present their vaccination certificates, the note said. In Gujarat, this would be eligible at Girnar rope way, Maa Mahakalika at Pavagadh in Halol and Ambaji apart from two in Haridwar and one each in Palakad and Kollam in Kerala.

AMC assistant health officer Dr Sanket Patel said the edible oil incentive has worked well in pockets where people “otherwise had no inclination to get vaccinated as they had no fear of Covid-19”, as well as in slum areas. “The idea was to get more people to take the vaccine and spread the word. This has shown results areas with a sizeable number of slums and labour colonies... The incentive also worked with first-dose takers who were lethargic to take the second dose,” says Dr Patel.

An NGO, Yuva Unstoppable, with sponsorship from individual donors, is targeting distributing five lakh edible oil pouches through this initiative across Gujarat, including a target of 1.5 lakh packets in Ahmedabad. Pavan Jain, president of operations at Yuva Unstoppable, says, “We started a pilot at some villages in Ahmedabad rural and following success, approached the AMC with the idea... We received a good response from them. We are doing this in Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Kheda and Aravalli as well. In Bhavnagar, we have distributed 70,000-odd oil packets of the approximate 1.5 lakh we are targeting.”

According to an AMC official, with 10-15 urban health centres in each of the seven zones, zone-wise demand is intimated (by the respective UHCs), which is conveyed to the NGO that sends the edible oil packets in tranches of 10,000 or 20,000 packets at a time. Till date, the NGO has provided 80,000 one-litre pouches, of which over 67,000 have been distributed to the vaccine-takers.

“If a UHC is near a slum area, they will know how many are yet to be vaccinated and are also aware of the trend of demand for vaccine as well as pockets where people are hesitant. Based on that, the demand will be estimated and conveyed,” said the official.

AMC data shows maximum number of beneficiaries who got free edible oil were from the south zone (16,589), which includes areas of Maninagar, Vatva, Lambha, Isanpur, Daniilimda and Khokhra. Another 12,614 were from the east zone — Gomtipur, Odhav, Vastral, Ramol Hathijan and Nikol. Slums covered include those in Bapunagar, Vasna, Meghaninagar and New Ranip, Jain said.

Gujarat has administered a total of over 6.7 crore vaccine doses, where 2.32 crore have been fully vaccinated, with AMC administering over 70.54 lakh doses, including 24.33 lakh who are fully vaccinated.

Following a “mega vaccination drive” in the state on September 17 to coincide with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, the AMC carried out vaccination drives at BRTS and AMTS bus stops, which are still continuing.

Over 1,700 doses have been administered through the “Covid vaccination Ghar Seva” — vaccine at home — initiative, which commenced on October 7, with an average of 130 doses a day.

Between October 7 and 19, the AMC administered 23,900-odd doses a day on average, which is considerably lower than the 33,200-odd doses the civic body was administering earlier this month.

The civic body has also made vaccination compulsory for entry into public buses, zoos other public places, since September. Earlier this month, the AMC also announced that vaccination is compulsory to enter multiplexes, malls, cinema theatres, commercial complexes, hotels, restaurants, religious sites as well as tourist places.

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