Low COVID-19 tests and vaccination
IFP Editorial: The vaccination rates in the hill districts of Manipur are much lower as compared to the valley districts and the national average.
Updated on 25 Nov 2021, 7:54 pm
(File Photo: IFP)
In view of the fresh waves of the pandemic in several countries, including Europe, the Union Health Ministry has sounded the alarm for continued aggressive testing and vaccination with a new vigour. Yet, several states are lagging behind in both fronts and the state of Manipur is included in both. A few days back, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had a virtual meeting 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. The first dose coverage in Meghalaya was 56.7 per cent, Manipur 54.2 per cent, Nagaland 49 per cent and Puducherry 65.7 per cent then, quoting government data updated. The aim is to encourage vaccination there. According to officials, around 82 per cent of the eligible population in India have received the first dose of anti-Covid vaccine while around 43 per cent have been fully inoculated.
The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 116.50 crore just before the meeting. Afterwards, the Union Health Ministry has written to 13 states and Union territories, including West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab, expressing concerns over declining weekly testing rates and spiking positivity rates in some districts. In a letter to Nagaland, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Kerala, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Ladakh, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed on maintaining high testing rates given the recent increase in travelling due to events like marriages, festivals and vacations that have recently concluded or are underway. The cumulative doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has exceeded 119.38 crore. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.
Meanwhile, Manipur’s vaccination rate still remains low. Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced a target of achieving 100 percent 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 is far from satisfactory. For the first dose, the overall percentage of vaccination has slightly increased from 54.08 per cent on 18 November to just 54.42 per cent on 24 November, while for the second dose it has moved from 34.93 per cent to 36.25 per cent. In the hills, the districts of Kangpokpi, Ukhrul and Senapati are still lagging far behind the other districts and the vaccination percentage in these districts practically remains still. The vaccination rates in the hill districts are much lower as compared to the valley districts and the national average. For the state, the number of doses administered as on Wednesday was 12,73,906 for the first dose and 8,48,592 for the second dose. In comparison to the valley districts, the other hill districts except for Churachandpur and Chandel are lagging behind in vaccination. On the other hand, the cumulative number of tests carried out in the state so far is 14,11,090 of which 1,25,070 were found positive. But, these include repeat tests for people who had to travel outside or otherwise. And in the last few weeks, the number of tests carried out per day has significantly come down to 1500-2000. The state Health department needs to explain this.