Centre chimes in over low vaccine coverage in Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland

New Delhi: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday urged Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry, which have been reporting a low vaccination coverage, to launch aggressive campaign to increase the pace and ensure full COVID-19 inoculation of the adult population.

Reiterating that vaccination is the most potent weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Mandaviya urged the states and the union territory to innovatively rope in all stakeholders, including NGOs, faith-based organisations, religious leaders, community influencers and other partners, to motivate and mobilise all eligible population towards full Covid vaccination, a health ministry statement said.

“We are in the last lap of COVID-19 vaccination. Let us launch aggressive campaign to ensure full COVID-19 vaccination by increasing the pace of vaccination and expanding the coverage,” he said while virtually interacting with health secretaries and senior officials of the health department from Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry during a meeting he chaired to review the status of Covid vaccination in these states and the union territory and the progress under the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign.

These states and the UT have been reporting low vaccination coverage, the health ministry statement said.

While India’s first dose coverage is at 82 per cent and second dose coverage at 43 per cent, Puducherry (66 per cent, 39 per cent), Nagaland (49 per cent, 36 per cent), Meghalaya (57 per cent, 38 per cent) and Manipur (54 per cent, 36 per cent) lag behind from national average in their first and second dose coverage, it said.

“Let us ensure collectively that no eligible citizen is left without the ‘Suraksha Kawachh’ of COVID-19 vaccine in the country, and to address issues of hesitancy, misinformation, superstition etc.”

Mandaviya urged the states to deploy all state government officials, one day each week, to visit each eligible household to motivate and mobilise them towards full vaccination, the statement said.

He reiterated the prime minister’s mop-up strategies for strengthening the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign, including deploying ‘Prachar Toli’ in advance to villages, which would ensure mobilisation and counselling of the eligible population along with awareness campaigns, followed by the ‘Vaccination Toli’, who would ensure that all eligible citizens are vaccinated with the first and second dose, it stated.

“I have observed during my recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh the use of stickers of ‘Fully Vaccinated Home’. Similar innovative strategies can be used in other states too,” he said.

States can also make children and students Covid vaccination ambassadors to urge and motivate the elders and eligible members in their families and communities to take both doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the minister added.

Mandaviya exhorted the states to prepare detailed district-wise micro plans, deploy adequate number of teams and to regularly review the daily progress of the low performing districts.

States were urged to make innovative short video clips to address target groups for hesitancy, along with effective use of various social media platforms and traditional media, the statement said.

The Union health minister engaged with the states and the UT to know the specific reasons holding back the wide scaling up of the vaccination drive under the ongoing ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign.

He was apprised of the ongoing efforts by the state and the UT administration to address issues of hesitancy, the statement said.

While India’s first dose coverage is at 82 per cent (as on date), except for the Union Territory of Puducherry, coverage of other states remain below 60 per cent, according to the statement.

Meghalaya, with a target population over 20 lakh, has eight lakh people waiting to be given first dose and due beneficiaries for second dose are over 2.5 lakh, it said.

Similarly, Manipur has over 10 lakh people yet to get their first dose and over 3.7 lakh due beneficiaries for their second dose out of a target population of 23.4 lakh.

Nagaland, with a target population of 14.7 lakh, has over 7.5 lakh first doses to be achieved and 1.2 lakh beneficiaries due for second doses. Puducherry, with a population has 11.3 lakh, has 3.88 lakh people yet to get first dose and 1.91 lakh eligible but yet to receive second dose, the statement said.

Also read: Learning Hindi to give an edge to students: Meghalaya CM

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