Updated on 17 Jan 2021, 3:50 am
Manipur joined the rest of India in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the world’s largest immunisation drive, that was rolled out in 3,006 sites across all states and Union territories on Saturday, January 16. Chief Minister N Biren launched the inoculation drive in the state at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), Imphal and thanked scientists, experts and researchers who were involved in producing the vaccine.
Addressing the state during the launch of the vaccination drive, the chief minister said the Coronavirus pandemic has caused an untold loss of lives and hardships to the people, but it has also taught the world several lessons.
“The COVID-19 pandemic might be the curse on man for the destruction of nature. Many people have died due to the pandemic. However, it has taught many lessons, particularly “the sense of humanity," he said.
Terming the launch of the vaccination nationwide as historic, Biren said 9,617 frontline workers of the state will be vaccinated in the first phase.
"Historic #COVID19Vaccination starts in Manipur today as it is being done all over India. A total of 9617 health care workers of the State will be vaccinated at 10 sites all over the State in the first phase. #LargestVaccineDrive," Biren tweeted as he launched the event.
Appealing to the people of the state to avoid spreading negative comment about the vaccine, Biren also said that stern action will be taken against people making negative comments about the vaccine in social media.
“It is unfortunate to spread wrong and negative comment on the vaccine as it is being produced after much research, observation and analysis. The state will start taking stern action against those who give negative comment about the vaccine without any scientific reason, in social media,” Biren said.
Wishing a COVID-free life to all, Biren expressed the hope that the pandemic would go away and the Covid vaccination programme would usher in a new life with new lessons to all.
MLA, Dr Sapam Ranjan also spoke at the event and said that launching of COVID-19 vaccine “Covishield” is one of the great moments in history.
“Producing of this vaccine is one such example that the pet vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi Make in India has achieved,” he said.
Dr Ranjan, who is also advisor to chief minister (Health), also appealed to people of the state to stop criticizing and spreading negative comment on social media about the vaccine without giving scientific reason.
“The vaccine is safe and efficient as it is introduced after being proven internationally. Let’s pray and hope that normal life be restored soon,” he added.
The first beneficiary of the vaccination is an attendant at JNIMS, N Romesh from Khurai in Imphal East.
Sharing his experience of getting the first dose of the vaccination with Imphal Free Press, he expressed confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and said: “I took the vaccination to prevent myself from getting infected for life. I feel fortunate to be the first beneficiary and I felt normal in getting the vaccination”.
Dr Th Bhimo, director, JNIMS in Imphal East, and Dr Santa Ahanthem, director, RIMS in Imphal West, were among the first health professionals who received the vaccination on day-one of the COVID-19 immunisation programme.
Addressing the media on the sidelines of the function, Dr Bhimo said that the COVID-19 vaccination would provide relief to the people.
Appreciating all the frontline workers and healthcare workers who played an important role in the fight against the pandemic, he said that the vaccination would cover almost all the preference group in a phased manner.
Head of Anaesthesia department, JNIMS, Dr Chungkham Thoibahenba told the Imphal Free Press that his main objective of administering the newly launched vaccine “Covishield” is to prove to the public that it is safe and helpful in preventing the present pandemic.
“I feel that people will trust more if health professional like doctors and nurses happily accept the vaccination. With this notion, I was vaccinated on the launching day,” he said.
Director, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), prof A Shanta Singh stated that it was a great privilege to get himself vaccinated on the day of the vaccine launch. “Launching the vaccine is the most awaited day for all of us. I would like to thank scientists who played a keen role in producing the vaccine".
One of the sweepers of JNIMS, Chongtham Niturani Devi, also shared his experience with the Imphal Free Press of getting the vaccination on its launching day.
Chongtham said that her name was given long time ago when the state government started preparation for the vaccination programme. Being a frontline warrior, joining the launching of the vaccine is a big relief.
“As an employee of the institute, I have been doing my service without any hesitation. When the pandemic was in its worst when fear gripped the people, we carried out the odd jobs of cleaning activities, taking the risk of being infected with the courage of being a frontline warrior. So launching the vaccination drive is a happy moment for me. Now I feel I am safe from the virus,” she added.