GUWAHATI: With the upsurge in the demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Assam, the State Health and Family Welfare department has sought the immediate supply of 19 lakh vaccine doses from the Centre. Now it depends on the Centre as to when the vaccines will arrive in the State.
According to sources in the State Health department, two days back it placed the requirement of 18 lakh Covishield and one lakh covaxin doses with the Centre.
With the Centre making it known its policy of covering all over 45-year-old people in the vaccination drive, 60 lakh more people in Assam will have to be vaccinated. As of now, around 15 lakh people, including doctors, nurses and paramilitary forces have been inoculated in the State.
On incidents of people not getting vaccine doses at some places in the State, official sources said that the demand for vaccine doses has gone up all of a sudden, making the vaccination system out of sync with the rush of people.
According to the guidelines issued by the Centre, a team comprising a doctor, a nurse, an attendant and others at a centre can inoculate 120 persons a day. However, of late the rush of people is high in the urban areas making the system not being able to cope it up, the sources said.
"Since around 60 lakh more people are to be covered in the vaccination drive in the State, we need to reorganize the vaccination system. We can't increase the number of vaccination centres immediately as it needs trained manpower that can't be groomed overnight. At the same time, we need to increase the number of COVID testing centres. Manpower management is something that needs to be taken care of," a source in the department said.
Statistics say that the State had 281 fresh COVID-19 positive cases as on April 9, which has gone up to 405 on April 10 and 352 on April 11.
Talking to the media, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "The trend of rise in COVID-19 cases in the State doesn't warrant us to be panicked. We still have two lakh doses of COVID vaccines at our disposal.
"We've increased screening of people in railway stations and airports. We're conducting around 1,000 tests in airport daily. Very soon air passengers coming to Assam from Delhi and Kolkata will also come under the COVID testing protocol. Apart from vaccines, we're equipped with infrastructure for the treatment of COVID-19. The situation in the State is not ripe for lockdown or night curfew.
"We're monitoring the situation on a day-to-day basis. Nobody in the State should be panicked. However, I appeal to all to follow the COVID protocol."