Vax boost: SGH records over 12K jabs in two days

TURA, Nov 24: A record of sorts has been created in the drive against COVID infection with one of the most remote districts of Garo Hills — South Garo Hills — witnessing a whopping 12,251 villagers coming forward to take the vaccine in just a span of two days, last week.
This large-scale vaccination programme against COVID was taken up in the district on November 18 and 19 with health teams spanning out across 730 villages in this remote district that has been plagued for generations with poor road communication and health infrastructure.
“The total vaccination during the two day campaign was 12,251, out of which 6,398 villagers took the first dose while 5,853 were eligible for the second dose,” informed Dr Calvaryn R Sangma, Sub Divisional Medical and Health Officer of Baghmara, who supervised the vaccination drive.
The district target against COVID has been put at 74,108 jabs.
The programme was aptly called ‘Special Vaccination campaign’ and it covered all 156 polling stations of the district, including the most remote ones located deep inside Chokpot and Rongara-Mahenskola region.
Baghmara block region registered the highest vaccination figure while Rongara block, given its remoteness, witnessed the lowest vaccination percentage.
The two-day drive also brought into focus the causes for the low vaccination figure for the past one year.
One of the prime reasons was the misinformation being spread by vested interest groups and individuals, another was villagers reluctance to trek from their villages to distant vaccination camps leaving behind their agricultural work that they depend heavily on to generate income to sustain their families.
To nip this problem in the bud, the district administration of South Garo Hills decided to take the jab to the door step of the villager himself.
Teams were formed and training and orientations on the roles and responsibilities were imparted prior to the campaign. The biggest impact witnessed with villagers welcoming the government initiative was the fact that officers themselves camped in the village itself, conducted meetings with the community leaders dispelling doubts and misconceptions and mobilized them for the vaccination. The ‘home visits’ were found to be a boon for the medical effort of the government.
There was also an added advantage for the villagers during the vaccination drive since it was combined with the much-needed Aadhaar enrolment and the holding of a special summary revision for 2022 for any eligible voter who had so far not been able to get himself enrolled in the electoral process.
“The clarifications about the vaccine, the Aadhaar enrollment and summary electoral revision became a major attraction at almost all the selected polling stations,” recalled medical staff who took part in this special drive which gave a major fill-up to the vaccination drive against COVID.
In some of the polling stations, the polling officials were even able to combine their department schemes and enrol the beneficiaries.
When last heard, Principal Secretary to Health department, P Sampath Kumar, and his health team were preparing to follow a similar trajectory in other districts to reach the universal target of cent percent vaccination against COVID-19.

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