Updated on 18 Nov 2021, 9:36 pm
(File Photo: IFP)
A week ago, Manipur 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. For the first dose the overall percentage of vaccination has slightly increased from 53.74 per cent to 54.08 per cent, while for the second dose it has moved from 33.42 per cent to 34.93 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 immobile. Even the Prime Minister had recently shown his grave concern about the lagging vaccination rate in the hill districts of the state. 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 12,65,965 for the first dose and 8,17,688 for the second dose. In comparison to the valley districts, the other hill districts except for Churachandpur and Chandel are lagging behind in vaccination. The chest thumping celebration among BJP rank and file of crossing the 100 crore mark of vaccination across the country seems to have little effect in the state, more so in the hill districts.
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. The Centre has taken care of procuring the vaccines and people are getting it free with the state rolling out its full machinery and health infrastructure to avail vaccine services in every constituency. CARE India has provided 120 vehicles and staff for the Covid Vaccination Express under their CSR initiative. The NGO will directly fund the hiring charges, staff expenses, operational expenses for the Covid Vaccination Express vehicles and staff. The Covid Vaccination Express vehicles are equipped with necessary equipment, vaccines and medical personnel who will travel to every nook and corner of the districts to vaccinate people at their doorsteps. Well and good. On the other hand, the initiative of Imphal West district administration to conduct assembly wise combing operation on Covid-19 vaccination for 13 assembly constituencies under its administrative control involving all stakeholders, including local clubs is to be appreciated. The Imphal West administration has also introduced a lottery among the vaccinated to encourage the general public.
We agree that rumours are still doing the rounds and some people are using social media to post their hesitancy and reluctance which might be due to either sheer ignorance or the deaths after vaccination and the adverse effects. Somehow, we must also learn to respect the misgivings or concern of certain people amongst us, while trying our utmost to convince them that full vaccination is the safest mode of protection against the ravages of Covid-19 as it enters the body. In such a scenario, we need the help and cooperation of everyone to be able to achieve the target. We understand that some of the hill based CSOs are busy with issues, political in nature, while some of them had even threatened to impose economic blockade in the state. But, can’t we ask or request these CSOs to take some time off for the more pressing issue of vaccination and the looming threat of a third wave of the pandemic.