Shillong: Amid some people refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, Meghalaya social welfare minister Kyrmen Shylla has urged the residents of the state to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the deadly disease.

Shylla’s appeal came after a senior citizen from East Jaintia Hills requested him to make a relaxation in the government’s ongoing vaccination drive as he did not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Concerned by the phone call made by the person, Shylla said it was disheartening to hear such requests when the Meghalaya government is putting so much effort in protecting the public from the deadly COVID-19.

“I received a phone call from a man who has even directed his son not to take the COVID-19 vaccine. He requested me to talk to the Meghalaya government and make a relaxation in the ongoing vaccination drive,” Shylla said.

“We have encouraging residents to take the COVID-19 vaccine for their own protection. But if they themselves don’t want to get vaccination, what can we do? We can’t force them,” added Shylla.

The United Democratic Party (UDP) MLA from Khliehriat said that the Meghalaya government’s aggressive COVID-19 vaccination drive is a way to protect the people. “People should value how the government is providing the COVID-19 vaccines free of cost. But I just don’t understand what the people actually want,” Shylla said.

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The minister has now urged residents to send their suggestions specifying what they want so that the government can take steps as per their requirement. “At the end of the day, we are their representatives. Maybe people who have already taken the vaccine can guide others who are hesitant. They can convince them to take the vaccine so that we can fight the virus as a team,” added Shylla.

Shylla felt that people should also realise the extreme sacrifices made by the health workers and other frontliners, some of whom are even putting their lives at risk to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shylla is hopeful that the people who are hesitant at this moment will eventually understand the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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