Riding on the shoulder of Omicron Vaccination rate in hill dists

The third wave is on and as anticipated it has come riding on the shoulder of the Omicron variant of the virus. This is according to the Chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, Dr NK Arora and there is no reason to disbelieve this as the figure across the country says with a number of cities imposing different forms of restrictions and closing schools and colleges. In Manipur the red alert is yet to be sounded, but already a yellow alert has been activated with the Executive Committee of the State Disaster Management Authority putting restrictions on a number of activities such as music concerts, Thabal Chongba, celebratory feasts, large gathering in enclosed areas or indoor halls and night curfew from 9 pm to 4 am. The new restrictions came after Manipur reported its first Omicron case detected in a man who had recently returned from Africa. The situation is dicey and before things get worse or before Manipur is taken back to the days when the second wave was at its peak with over 800 people getting infected in a day daily and the number of deaths on a day running into double digit, it is time for the Government to think out of the box and see what more can be done. It is not for nothing why the Election Commission of India sounded the Government of Manipur over the slow pace of vaccination and this should be a matter of concern. The ECI is probably not the ‘exact’ body to be speaking about the pandemic, but with Manipur going to polls in the early part of this year, perhaps the ECI felt that it was only right that some concern should be expressed. As pointed out in an earlier commentary in this column, it is disturbing to note that vaccination rate in Manipur continues to be painfully low, particularly in the hill districts. The Government will definitely need to do something more to convince the people to come out and receive their jab. With the COVID-19 Common Control Room now giving the rate of vaccination from the districts, people now have an idea where the different districts stand as far as vaccination is concerned.
Kangpokpi, Ukhrul and Kamjong are districts of concern at the moment though this does not mean that the other districts are doing good. The three districts have been named and picked out here for they occupy the last three spot on the map of vaccine coverage. In Kangpokpi district, only 13.01 percentage of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated while only 19.47 percent have received their first jab. Ukhrul also scores a low of only 18.07 percent having received the second dose and a measly 24.53 percent the first dose. Kamjong is no better as only 22.45 percent have been fully vaccinated while 33.81 percent have received their first jab. Senapati district is also a matter of concern as only 24.39 have been fully vaccinated and only 32.57 have received their first dose. Amongst the hill districts, it is only Chandel which has comparatively done better with 52.13 percent having received their second dose and 66.87 percent the first dose. Why is the vaccination coverage so low in the hill districts is a point which the State Government should sit down and discuss. Is the vaccination jab administered only at the district headquarters or spread across the villages ? If it is a case of the former then the Government should take cognizance of the fact that to many coming for the vaccine jab could mean losing a day’s wage and the family going hungry. Has the Government looked at the situation from this angle ? Time to do so else the price to pay can be high, very high.