NEW DELHI :

Even as India’s first dose coverage of covid-19 vaccine stands at 82% and second dose coverage reached 43%, north-eastern states’ progress remains government’s concern.  

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday virtually interacted with Health Secretaries and senior officials of the Health Department from Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry as these States/UT have been reporting low covid-19 vaccination coverage.  

While India’s first dose coverage is at 82% as on Monday except for the UT of Puducherry, coverage of other states remained below 60%. Meghalaya with a target population over 20 lakh has 8 lakh people waiting to be given first dose and due beneficiaries for second dose are over 2.5 lakh. Against Puducherry (66%, 39%), Nagaland (49%, 36%), Meghalaya (57%, 38%) and Manipur (54%, 36%) lag behind from national average in their first and second dose coverage. 

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 lakhs. Nagaland with a target population of 14.7 lakhs has over 7.5lakh first dose to be achieved and 1.2 lakh beneficiaries due for second dose. Puducherry with a target population of 11.3 lakhs has 3.88 lakh people yet to get first dose and 1.91 lakh eligible but yet to receive second dose, the union health ministry data showed. 

The union health minister reviewed the status of covid-19 vaccination in these States/UT and the progress under the Har Ghar Dastak campaign.  

 “We are in the last leg of covid-19 vaccination. An aggressive campaign should be launched to ensure full covid-19 vaccination by increasing the pace of vaccination and expanding the coverage,” said Mandaviya. 

The Union Health Minister urged the States/UT 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-19 Vaccination. The minister also urged the States to deploy all State government officials, one day each week, to visit each eligible household to motivate and mobilise them to towards full vaccination. 

 “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,” he said citing example of Arunachal Pradesh where they tused stickers of “Fully Vaccinated Home”.  “Similar innovative strategies can be used in other states too”, he added.   

  “States can also make children and students as covid-19 vaccination ambassadors to urge and motivate the elders and eligible members in their families and communities to take both doses of covid-19 vaccine,” Mandaviya said. The minister 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 videos to address target groups for hesitancy, along with effective use of various social media platforms and traditional media. 

The Union Health Minister engaged with the States/UT to know the specific reasons holding back the wide scaling up of vaccination drive under the ongoing ‘Har GharDastak’ campaign. He was apprised of the ongoing efforts by the State/UT administration to address issues of hesitancy. India’s cumulative covid-19 vaccination coverage breached 117 crores on Monday. Meanwhile, at least 8,488 new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours.  

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