Studying the vaccination drive
Lone option before all
Vaccination and this is obviously the only option to take the battle to the virus and from the initial hesitancy amongst the people to get the vaccine shot, it is heartening to see people now lining up to get the much needed jab. The important question is how well placed is Manipur to meet the growing demand for vaccination from amongst the people now that the Government of India has decided to include in the eligible bracket all those above 18 years of age from May 1. For the record, Manipur is yet to start the vaccination drive for those in the age group of 18 to 44 and it remains to be seen when this can kick start and here it is pertinent to ask whether the State has enough stock of the vaccine, Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India, in this case. The Government has not been forthcoming with this information so far, with the COVID-19 Control Room satisfied with only trotting out the figures of how many have been vaccinated all over the State till now. India rolled out its massive vaccination drive on January 16, 2021 and in the first phase all healthcare workers and frontline workers were made eligible to receive the vaccine shot. Next came the 60 years and above and then those between the age group of 45 and 59. Till date, that is as on May 9, the total number of people who have received their vaccine dose stood at 2,65,921. For a campaign that rolled out on January 16 this year and for a population of about 30 lakhs, the question of whether this figure is healthy or not remains open. Importantly there is also the question of whether the State has enough stock of the vaccine to give the second dose to those who have already received their first dose. As things stand right now some private medical centres, where the vaccines could be received for a fee have run of stock and those who have already received their first shot from such a centre will now have to head for the Government health centres.
Getting vaccinated does not mean that one can do away with the SOPs laid down for the safety of everyone. Even after the full dose of two shots, it is important for everyone to mask up, maintain social distancing and personal hygiene, particularly washing one’s hand thoroughly with soap and water or with a hand sanitiser. Even masking up now comes with the rider that it is far safer to double mask, with demonstrations being shown on how to make sure that the mask is worn the right way. The virus here is tricky and none can predict its behaviour accurately. The ongoing curfew imposed by the Government should be seen in the correct perspectives and this is where it becomes a matter of concern that so many continue to flout the SOPs laid down by the Government. Defeating the virus should be the responsibility of everyone and with new studies stressing that the Covid virus is airborne and can spread beyond six feet, the need to be more careful has never been felt more than now. People need to be more responsible and come to terms with the understanding of the new normal and the Government on the other hand need to ramp up its vaccination drive, else Manipur may stare at shortage of the vaccine and this would be a tragedy in the present circumstances.