Rising number of deaths, casesRamp up vaccination drive

The curfew/lockdown/restrictions on movement of people etc cannot go on forever. At the same time there is no sign as yet that the spread of the virus has peaked and has started going down. This is about Manipur and to a certain extent, the North East region of the country, where the second wave of the epidemic has taken a heavy toll. In this no win situation, vaccination seems to be the only logical way forward. This is the bottomline. Yet the reality says that not all the people seem ready or are keen to take the shot, despite knowing that there is as yet no medicine to deal with the virus once it enters one’s body. The jingle that comes alive when the mobile phone is dialled reflects how many have are reluctant to get the vaccine shot and given the seriousness of the matter, one wonders what will convince the people to come out willingly for vaccination. The figure itself should tell a story. Rolled out on January 16, 2021, and fast forward five months and how many have actually received the vaccine shot here in Manipur ? Till June 6, the total number of people who have got vaccinated stood at 4,22,872 which is just about 14 percent of the total population of about 30 lakhs. Take away the children aged below 18 and the percentage may just go up a little over 20 percent or so and this is not encouraging, given that studies have found that the infection is much more severe on people who have not received the vaccination. In absolute numbers, Manipur seems to be doing better than the neighbouring States of Nagaland (About 2.73 lakhs), Mizoram (3.23 lakhs), Meghalaya (2.8 lakhs), but it is way behind Tripura which has already reported 89 pc coverage of all those above the age of 45. And for those above 60 years, Tripura has recorded more than the targeted number of people.
It is also significant to remember that the 3.23 lakh people who have reportedly received the vaccine shot in Mizoram constitute 24.28 percent of the total population of about 13.32 lakhs. This is where Manipur would need to ramp up her vaccination drive for this is the best way forward to keep the rising number of deaths under check. Plus this can also go a long way in minimising the pressure on hospitals and health centres for medical oxygen and ventilators for as studies have indicated, those who have received the vaccinations do not generally develop serious cases, where they may need medical oxygen or ventilators. This is where the Government will need the co-operation of all the sixty MLAs, the civil society organisations, the mass media, the voluntary organisations and student bodies to convince the people to come out willingly for the vaccine shots. Getting as many people vaccinated as possible is one of the safest ways to gear up for the third wave of the pandemic which many experts have predicted. Ramp up the health infrastructure, the oxygen plants, ramp up the oxygen distribution process and definitely ramp up the vaccination drive. This is one of the sure shot ways to gear up for the third wave of the pandemic.