Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, while launching the COVID-19 vaccination in the state after the nation-wide launch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, said the state was privileged that first phase of vaccines is being given to the healthcare workers.
“They rightly deserve to be the first people to take the vaccines,” he added.
Nagaland received 26,500 dosages of Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India on Thursday. These will cover around 12,000 health care workers in health units in Phase 1.
On the first day of the vaccination drive, a target of 900 health care workers was set for vaccination, as per National Health Mission (NHM) Mission Director Dr Kevichusa Medikhru. The vaccination took place across nine sites across the state.
During the formal launch of the vaccination at the Naga hospital in Kohima, Rio expressed delight at joining the nation in exercising the largest vaccination drives in the world.
The chief minister said that as per scientists, the vaccines would be effective against the virus’ new strain. He reminded that a person must be registered in the CoWIN portal, and only registered persons will receive the vaccine where a person will require two doses 28 days apart for full protection.
As per the health ministry, there will be a gap of 28 days between two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and its effectiveness will begin 14 days after the second dose.
The chief minister also wished all the doctors and nurses, health workers involved in the vaccination. He also encouraged all people to “come forward and take the vaccine” during their turns.
Dr Sendimeren Aonok, consultant and in charge of ICU at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) became the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after the launch of the vaccines in Kohima. The 54-year-old doctor, who is also a recipient of the Governor’s gold medal recipient in 2012, said, “The injection is absolutely painless. So far the side effects are concerned, nothing has happened to me so far”.
Interacting with journalists about 15 minutes after receiving the vaccination, the doctor positively said, “We [as health care workers] knew that we would have to do it. We have been in the frontline. And since we are frontline workers in every form, be it in treatment or receiving, we are expected to do it”. He then lightly added saying “As for me, I was prepared, but I didn’t know that I will be the first to be vaccinated”.
Saying that the vaccine is “kill vaccine”, the doctor confidently said that “everything will be okay”. He encouraged the others to undertake the “small painless procedure” to be able to save lives. “We have done a lot of studies. We knew that we would experience it first. So, we did a lot of in-depth studies. We studied almost every research paper that has come out so far. The vaccine is recent, and the trial is just one year but efficacy has been proven,” he added. While the vaccine is said to be “absolutely harmless”, he warned that persons who are allergic to many things should undergo vaccination under proper health care services.
With rumour mongering doing rounds on social media over prophecy to not receive the vaccine, Reverend Zelhou Keyho, general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council said, “We are always confused because our faith has become situational.”
Clearly stating that it does not condemn nor endorse anyone or anything they say, he said that there is an existence of both true and false prophecy. “We need God’s wisdom to discern right from wrong. And this is what we are lacking because we are easily swayed away, and we get confused,” he said.
While there may be doubts and apprehensions about the vaccine’s efficacy, he said that one must leave that to the experts. “Our role is to pray that God will use the vaccine to bring protection to the community,” he added.
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