‘Efforts on to open more vaccination centres’

SHILLONG, April 21: In its bid to intensify the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the state government is working on increasing the number of vaccination centres.
“We have around 200 vaccination centres and 700-800 immunization sites. We want the vaccination centres to match the level of immunization sites,” DHS (MI) Dr Aman War said on Wednesday.
He said the severity of the pandemic this time could be a bit more than what it was last year.
Asked if it is a new strain, he said, “It is still COVID-19 for us and we cannot say whether it is a variant or not till the time ICMR confirms that it has come to Meghalaya.”
He said as the situation is grim and getting grimmer, people should take all precautions and follow the health guidelines.
On the availability of equipment, he said, “What we have and are getting is good enough. We don’t want the cases to spiral since it will put a strain on what we are having.”
Stating that there are 111 ventilators, Dr War said, “We will see how the situation unfolds after the various measures which have been put in place. If the situation improves, it will be good for all of us.”
On the COVID curbs, he said, “We believe there should be a decline in the cases. We expect people to contribute for the decline.”
The state government has decided to go out of its way to buy vaccines for people aged 18-45 years.
“We are aware that Serum Institute of India (SII) has fixed the price of Covishield vaccine at Rs 400 per jab for the state governments. But, it is still unclear if the Centre or the state governments will bear the expenses,” Health Minister, AL Hek said.
Stating that the matter was discussed during Wednesday’s review meeting, he said if the situation demands, then the state government will have to manage the funds.
“We will have to manage the financial resources to ensure the availability of the vaccine. We would want that the citizens, aged 18-45 years, are also vaccinated,” the minister said, adding, “The government is committed to protecting the lives of its citizens. We will get the vaccine even if we have to pay for it.”

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