Widening eligibility criteria for vaccine
18 years and above
Taking the vaccination drive one or two or even three notches higher. This is clear in the decision of the Narendra Modi led Government to expand the list of citizens eligible to get the vaccine shot from the earlier stipulation of 45 years and above to anyone between the age of 18 and 44. Thousands, if not lakhs must have rushed to the Co-WIN portal to get their names registered for the vaccine shots, for which the anti-Covid shots would be administered from May 1 and the rush is probably explained by the fact that the Co-WIN portal either crashed or developed some mechanical snags, with thousands of messages flooding Twitter highlighting the same on April 28. It is not yet clear how many dosage Manipur has requisitioned or is eligible to get, but this may get more clear once the registration process stabilises and a clearer picture emerges, but it is important for all those above 18 to get themselves registered and get the vaccine shots. Vaccination is the most important move to take the fight to the virus and the decision of the Centre to open the vaccination doors to those above 18 years of age falls perfectly in line with the raging second wave which has infected even the younger lots. Compelled to shift focus from the elderly to the younger lot and the Government has had to toe this line. One point of concern here is whether India will have the needed number of dosage to meet the rising demand for the vaccine. It should however remain that even after getting the vaccine shot, one must continue to adhere to the Covid Appropriate Behaviour and this is perhaps the biggest challenge lying before the people. The important question is why the people in Manipur find it so hard to adhere to the dos and don’ts laid down by the Government and this point is laid clear by the number of SOP violators pulled up and the huge amount of money collected as fines each day.
It was with a reason why The Sangai Express carried reports of the fines collected from SOP violators for two days on the trot on page 1 giving it ample publicity. One April 26, the fines collected from SOP violators totalled a huge Rs 1,02, 450. As if this was not enough, the people seemed to decide that this should be bettered and so the next day, that is on April 27, the fine collected from the SOP violators was Rs 1,21,800. The fines collected till date, since the SOPs were laid down in clear cut terms, now total Rs one crore, eighty six lakh, four thousand and eight hundred. A hefty amount of money by any stretch of the imagination and this should more than say that the people just do not seem to have the common sense to realise that the SOPs have been laid down not for anyone but to keep them safe during this time of the global pandemic. The hefty fines collected and the candid admission of the Medical Superintendent of RIMS that the hospital may run out of Covid beds, in the face of the increasing number of new cases, should tell the story of how the Is are being dotted to ready the perfect script for the virus to create havoc. And it is the people who are going the extra mile to ensure that not only are the Is being dotted, but the Ts too are crossed. It is this mindset which is extremely disturbing and stringent action should be taken up against those who continue to violate SOPs, thereby endangering all. The State Government too should lobby with the Centre to ensure that there is no shortage of the vaccines.