Vaccination focus on the hill districts Poor coverage

With the number of fresh cases coming down appreciably in the last many days corresponding with the drop in the daily positivity rate, taking it below the 5 percent mark, it is easy for complacency to set in and this is something which the State Government cannot afford. Manipur has already experienced the devastating spell of the second wave of the virus when it infected at will and killed at will too and certainly the place and the people cannot afford to have a rerun of the earlier phase. This word of caution is all that more pressing in the face of many experts predicting that a third wave is a distinct possibility. What are the ways forward then. The answer should be obvious to all. One is for all to continue to strictly abide by the SOPs spelt out by the World Health Organisation and adhere to the command- ments to move out only when absolutely necessary, maintain social distancing, always were a face mask while stepping out and even inside one’s own house if any member tests positive, frequently wash one’s hand with soap and water or a hand sanitiser. One point has also been added and that is ‘get vaccinated’. Vaccination-this is one answer to combat the virus and while there have been cases of some of the fully vaccinated ones falling prey to the virus, such cases are very few and independent reports filed by different media houses have clearly pointed out that even if infected, those who have been vaccinated do not enter the critical phase of needing ventilators or other life support systems such as oxygen.
It is against this backdrop that it is extremely worrying and disturbing to note that at least 7 of the hill districts of Manipur have not even seen fifty percent of its eligible adult population receiving the first dose of the vaccine. According to figures trotted out by the Covid Care Centre, Senapati has only 18.25 percent of its population having received the first dose of the vaccine, Tamenglong (32.04 pc), Ukhrul (25.32 pc), Kangpokpi (40.98 pc), Kamjong (29.12 pc), Pherzawl (40.18 pc) and Noney (46.17 pc). The coverage under the second dose is lower and these seven districts are among those across the country which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address sometime later this week. The question is, why is vaccination coverage in these districts so pathetically low ? No easy answer here, but given the geography of the place, the lifestyle of the people in these districts and the reach of the administration concerned, the answer may not be that hard to understand. To many of the villagers moving from their village to the district headquarters will mean more than just moving to a destination. It could mean so many things to so many people. For one it would mean forgoing the day’s work in the jhum field, which will help feed their families. This is where the Government will need to think out of the box and see how to convince the people to go for their vaccination jabs. Why not think of a way to compensate the day’s work lost for going for the vaccination ? This is one line of thought that may be seriously studied for what one is talking here is a global pandemic.