While Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren who is also Health Minister of the state and the State Department of Health Services made repeated tall claims that Manipur would be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 2021; only 24.48 percent of the total vaccine eligible persons of Manipur were fully vaccinated as on September 30.
The total numbers of registered electors of the state who are 18 years and above published on January 15, 2021 are considered as eligible persons for vaccination against COVID-19. Now, the number of eligible persons should have increased. The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been launched in Manipur with high hope and spirit in 10 selected vaccination centres for the beginning along with the rest of India on January 16. Later the number of vaccination centres has been increased and vaccinations were conducted at the local clubs and community buildings with the help of local civil bodies.
On August 21, Imphal Reviews of Arts and Politics (IRAP) published that no sign of achieving Manipur governments target of 100 percent COVID-19 vaccination by September 2021 because of the pace of the vaccination drive carried out by the state government while there is no vaccination in most of the state health facilities on Sundays and holidays when many people are convenient to go for vaccination on such days.
Meanwhile in a bid to achieve 100 per cent vaccination in Manipur at the earliest, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on October 11 launched COVID Vaccination Express in the state. He flagged off the COVID Vaccination Express for Imphal West District from the CM Secretariat. The Health Department, Government of Manipur in a joint initiative with CARE India had taken up the programme to fortify the vaccination rollout in the state. The flagging off programme was organised by the District Administration, Imphal West.
Even though the State Government has missed the September target of fully vaccination, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren is still optimistic to fully vaccinate all eligible persons of the state at the earliest.
“Delighted to launch 15 Covid Vaccination Express in Manipur today. Under the guidance of our Hon’ble PM Shri@narendramodi Ji, it is our resolve to vaccinate all eligible persons at the earliest. These vans will cover every household to vaccinate & bring our life back to normal,” CM Biren tweeted.
In another attempt to achieve the missed target, the Chief Minister Nongthombam also launched a project Swaraksha which is brought out by the state in partnership with USAID-NISHTHA/Jhpiego. Under the project, the USAID NISTHA team would mobilise those people who are hesitant to take vaccines and bring them to vaccination centres. Every individual who got vaccinated would be directly paid Rs. 50 per dose under the project.
Reports said Chief Minister Biren speaking on the occasion stated that the state government in collaboration with CARE India had taken the initiative of COVID Vaccination Express to facilitate doorstep inoculation of COVID Vaccine like that of doorstep delivery of services in Go to Village and Go to Hills missions.
The Chief Minister said that 15 vehicles with required medical staff and equipment would visit different places of Imphal West for the vaccination programme. He expressed that more vehicles would come up soon to cover vaccination for Imphal East and other districts of the state.
Stating that the State had not totally overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, though the total positivity rate had come down to single digit, he urged the public to voluntarily come out and get vaccinated and refrain from any false information regarding the effect of vaccine. He maintained that about 97 to 98 per cent of those who succumbed to COVID-19 in the recent past were unvaccinated individuals.
Expressing the importance of total vaccination throughout the State to overcome the pandemic, he appealed to the local clubs and social organisations to support the vaccination programme by giving information to the locals who hadn’t vaccinated so far and encourage them to get vaccinated soon.
The COVID Vaccination Express would act as mini camps and have trained health workers to safely vaccinate the people. The vehicles will reach out to every neighbourhood, door to door and every eligible individual, the chief minister said.
However, the reality is different from the claims of the government as reflected by the COVID-19 vaccination data.
Even after September 30, only 29.36 percent of the total eligible person for COVID-19 Vaccination have been fully vaccinated as on October 14 while 63.05 percent of the total eligible persons have been given their first doses, which is only 0.56 percent increase in first dose from September 30 that is only 11,039 persons have been inoculated for first dose during the two weeks. It shows that the pace of the vaccination is still slow and no vaccination on Sundays and holidays is also one of the major factors of slowing down in achieving the target for hundred percent vaccinations set by the state government.
As evident from the graph, though the total vaccine shots has crossed 18,00,000 mark, the first dose has just crossed 12,00,000 mark while the fully vaccinated i.e. second dose inoculated persons can’t reach even 6,00,000 mark which implies that even one-third of the eligible persons cannot be vaccinated till date. Reaching 18,09,538 of total vaccine shots as on October 14 doesn’t mean that it is nearer to the total number of eligible persons for vaccination. Only 12,33,722 persons have got their first doses while only 5,66,750 are fully vaccinated out of eligible 19,58,087 persons. State Health Department has still to go a long way to get all eligible persons fully vaccinated even as one-third of the total eligible persons cannot be inoculated so far.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics