Just as we are in the midst of a crisis over availability of vaccines, we are being bombarded with messages for mass vaccination through the social media and other media platforms. The Serum Institute of India had decided to lower its prices for the vaccine through the good graces of the Government of India, but the Government of India is yet to relax the prices of the vaccine at state level. Facing criticism over the varying prices of its Covid vaccine, the Serum Institute of India on Wednesday decided to lower the price of Covishield vaccines for states from Rs.400 to Rs.300 per dose. Fifteen people were fined and sentenced to three-day simple imprisonment for not wearing masks by the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on Tuesday. They were picked up by City police from Khwairamband Bazar areas, Imphal for not wearing masks at public places which is a violation of COVID-19 SOPs issued by the state government. The 15 individuals were imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each and the amount is to be deposited to the state account. The police submitted a prayer before the court to take action under the appropriate section of law and prevent such activities in the future.
As India tries to accelerate its massive vaccination programme in the middle of a devastating second Covid-19 wave, ground reports from states indicate a complex set of problems ranging from shortage of doses to glitches on the registration portal to panic and fear of the vaccines running out.
If the initial weeks of vaccination saw a general reluctance among the public, the severity of the pandemic’s second wave has forced them to flock to vaccination centres, flouting the very rules meant to keep them safe. While rich states like Maharashtra can afford to vaccinate its citizens free of cost, it is very difficult for states with small means like Manipur which are already overburdened with fiscal distress and extra expenditure for Covid-19 response in the last financial year.
Maharashtra government Wednesday declared that it will provide free Covid vaccination to all citizens aged 18-44.
The Covid-19 situation in the state is not as disastrous as in Maharashtra, Delhi, Bengaluru and Uttar Pradesh. But the recent surge in Covid-19 cases is indeed a cause for concern. From a two digit figure of 21 positive cases on April 14, the daily surge of Covid-19 positive cases has increased to 259 positive cases on April 28 with two more deaths. In view of the second wave of the pandemic, the state government has already closed down the three women markets along with the temporary markets for ten days while allowing the shops and establishments in Imphal core market area to open on roster basis. Night curfew has been imposed from 7 pm to 5 am, while staff attendance in government offices has been restricted to 50 percent. The state is yet to reveal the number of vaccines available with the state and also the preparedness for mass vaccination from May 1. Also, it is silent on whether there are enough doses for the planned vaccination programme or not?