Govt unhappy with poor response to vaccination drive
Jabs for 18-44 age group from tomorrow
SHILLONG, May 12: The Meghalaya government is unhappy with the poor response to the COVID vaccination drive for people over 45 years of age.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters after a review meeting Wednesday that the vaccination coverage for the targeted group stands at a mere 37-38%.
“If you get yourself vaccinated you will be safe. If you don’t get vaccinated, you must face questions,” he said, expressing unhappiness with the turnout for the jabs so far.
The Deputy Chief Minister said the state would receive 42,000 doses of vaccines Thursday, making it clear that the government will earmark more vaccines for the vulnerable districts.
He said the government has no details about how many in the 18-44 age group have registered for the vaccine on the CoWIN portal, but the drive for this group will start from May 14.
Tynsong said the government has not identified the reasons for the poor response to the vaccination drive but felt negative social media campaigns could be a factor.
“We have our teams down to the CHC level to aggressively explain and convince people to go for the shots,” he said, adding the government would be publishing booklets in local languages in a bid to allay the fears of the people.
Tynsong said medical experts and scientists from all over the world have vouched for the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
“Who are we to not listen to medical scientists of the world? I don’t know these scientists of Meghalaya who say people don’t need these vaccines. If any person has that authority, let them come for a debate,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister also warned that community spread has already taken place in the state and people much adhere to all the protocols.
The Director of Health Services (MI), Aman War allayed fears about people dying after vaccination. “Most of those who died were not vaccinated,” he said.
He added that other diseases were the causes of death of a few people after vaccination, clarifying that the vaccine is protection only against COVID and not other ailments.
Vaccine wastage minimal
A day after the Union Health Ministry said that Meghalaya is among the top four states that include Haryana, Assam and Rajasthan, to have reported the highest percentage of COVID-19 vaccine wastage, DHS (MI) Dr Aman War on Wednesday informed that the vaccine wastage in Meghalaya is minimal as of now.
However, War accepted that there was a bit of vaccine wastage initially because people were not coming forward for vaccination.
He mentioned that one vial has 10 doses but only two people were turning up for vaccination in the initial phase. Hence, the health department devised a mechanism under which a vial of vaccine is opened only when there are at least 10 people at the vaccination centre.
“Then we wait and that is why people say that they have to wait for a long time to get vaccinated,” War added.
As per the Union Health Ministry, Meghalaya reported 5.67 per cent of vaccine wastage, behind Rajasthan (5.68 per cent), Assam (5.92 per cent) and Haryana (6.49 per cent).