IFP Editorial: Elections cannot be postponed at any cost except in times of war or emergency. So, the state health machinery needs to speed up the vaccination process in a war footing.
Updated 3 Jan 2022, 7:37 pm
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had a meeting in November last year to review the progress and planning of COVID-19 vaccination in Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry where the first dose coverage is less than 70 per cent, official sources said. The first dose coverage then in Meghalaya was 56.7 per cent, Manipur 54.2 per cent, Nagaland 49 per cent and Puducherry 65.7 per cent. The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 145 crores now. The Election Commission of India had on Tuesday written to the chief secretaries of five poll-bound states, asking them to “accelerate” the pace of Covid-19 vaccination. The poll panel also expressed concerns over the low percentage of first dose coverage in Manipur. This comes after the Commission had at a press conference in Lucknow last week emphasized on the need to speed up vaccination in poll-bound states.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said that EC had asked states to take steps to step up vaccination coverage. Elections are scheduled to be held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur this year. Vaccination in the valley districts had been going on well while the hill districts are lagging behind in both first and second doses, more particularly in Ukhrul, Kangpokpi and Senapati districts. In Ukhrul, it is only 24.45 pc for first dose and 17.98 pc for second dose. In Kangpokpi, it is 19.45 pc and 12.96 respectively which is extremely low. In Senapati district, it is 32.51 pc and 24.32 pc which is slightly better than the other two districts. In comparision to the valley districts, the other hill districts are also lagging behind.
India reported a sharp spike in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infections for the sixth consecutive day on Monday after 33,750 fresh cases were logged in the last 24 hours, according to Union health ministry update. As many as 27,553 new Covid-19 cases were reported a day ago. The ministry further said that active cases in the country now stand 1,45,582. The number of confirmed infections of the highly transmissible Omicron variant has climbed to 1,700, with Maharashtra maintaining its position as the top contributor with 510 cases. Delhi remained the second-most contributor with 351 cases, followed by Kerala (156), Gujarat (136) and Tamil Nadu (121).
The country saw 123 Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours, a drop of 161 fatalities when compared to the previous day's tally of 284. The total Covid-related deaths in the country now stand at 4,81,893. Further, as many as 10,846 people recuperated from the viral disease, taking the total number of Covid-related recoveries in the country to 3,42,95,407. Meanwhile, India has begun vaccination against the Covid-19 disease for beneficiaries in the age bracket of 15-18 years. While testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, the weekly positivity rate in the country currently stands at 1.68 per cent and the daily positivity rate stands at 3.84 per cent.
In November, Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced a target of achieving 100 per cent vaccination for Covid 19 in the state by Christmas and he had sought the help and co-operation of the Church, village chiefs or headmen and hill based civil society organisations. But, the percentage of overall vaccination rate in the state had moved only an inch. So, what is stopping the state or district administrations from increasing the rate of vaccination like others have done.
Perhaps, the fault lies in the lack of initiative or innovation on the part of the district administrators. Elections cannot be postponed at any cost except in times of war or emergency, as the Election Commission of India is duty bound to uphold the Constitution of India. So, the state health machinery needs to speed up the vaccination process in a war footing, so as to ensure public safety while also fulfilling constitutional obligations.