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Is 100% vaccination an easy target?

The Assam government has set a target to vaccinate three lakh persons against coronavirus every day from Monday, which works out to 90 lakh people in a month.

vaccination

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2021-06-21T10:00:27+05:30

The Assam government has set a target to vaccinate three lakh persons against coronavirus every day from Monday, which works out to 90 lakh people in a month. This is indeed a very ambitious programme, and going by the performance of the State Health Department and all the other departments which worked in excellent coordination since the first Covid case was reported on March 31, 2020, achieving this target should not be a very difficult task. But then, there are certain "ifs and buts" which the BJP-led government in Assam must constantly keep in mind. As has been seen in the past 15 months or so, there is one section of people in Assam who always tends not to cooperate with the government. This section may not be a political section in the truest sense of the term and exists across barriers of language, religion, caste, creed and socioeconomic status, and always contribute towards creating hurdles in serious programmes intended at the overall welfare and security of the community. One does not have to understand rocket science to identify this section. They are all over and oppose things just for the sake of opposing things. This section consists of people who, among other things, also think that the Covid pandemic is a creation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP-led government! Thus they do not adhere to the basic rules for the prevention of the spread of the virus, like wearing a mask, maintaining social/physical distance, not spitting in public places, washing hands, taking the Covid test and getting vaccinated. While this section is very minuscule, it does have the potential of creating problems in the pandemic situation as did that single rotten apple to a basket of rotten apples in the high school textbook. What however the BJP-led government of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma needs to focus on, apart from this microscopic section is a major section of Assam's population which has a serious tendency of avoiding vaccination in the name of their religious faith. A close look at the district-wise, Assembly constituency-wise and block-wise statistics of people coming out for voluntary testing and voluntary vaccination will probably help in easy identification of this particular section of the state's population. What is the vaccination status, say of Barpeta, Goalpara, South Salmara-Mankachar, Dhubri, Morigaon, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Nagaon districts? This is the same section of people who generally refuses to adopt various methods of birth control, keeps their infants and children away from the regular immunization programmes, and prefers to go to a quack than to a doctor or a hospital – all in the name of the faith. Unless this section of the state's population is not fully vaccinated, Assam cannot become 100 per cent safe from coronavirus. While on one hand members of this section of people will keep the virus active and alive among themselves, on the other hand, they will keep transmitting it to others by various means. The first step that the government can take is to make vaccination mandatory for all vendors – those selling various things on the pavements of Guwahati to those selling fish, poultry, vegetables etc and collecting waste materials door-to-door. Simultaneously, the authorities should also make vaccination mandatory for all rickshaw-pullers, taxi-drivers, auto-drivers, battery rickshaw-pullers, daily-wage labourers, shop-keepers, delivery boys, as well as all shopkeepers. If Guwahati can be taken as a case study, one will not be surprised to find that the large majority of people engaged in the above activities have not even taken the first dose of vaccination. The law-abiding and conscious citizens can also help the authorities in their way by asking vendors to show proof of vaccination before buying things or availing the services of people engaged in the above-mentioned activities. Simultaneously, to achieve 100 per cent coverage of the vaccination against coronavirus, the Assam government should immediately also take the vaccination drive to the last level of healthcare administration – the Anganwadi centre and ASHA worker level. It is the Anganwadi worker and ASHA worker who generally have the health status information of residents of every locality at the back of their palm. If Election department teams can go and facilitate the casting of votes to every elderly and physically immobile voter, then the same should also be done to achieve 100 per cent vaccination against coronavirus. The Chief Minister has already announced that 2,000 vaccination centres have been set up across the state to achieve the target of 100 per cent coverage. It is now for everyone to cooperate and make this possible in the greater interest of Assam, as well as humanity itself.

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