Over 832 health workers received the ‘Covishield’ vaccine in Meghalaya as the state, along with the rest of the country, rolled out the COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday.
Just after the launching by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, the vaccination drive was carried out at 10 session sites spread across 9 districts of Meghalaya.
At the state capital Shillong, the vaccination drive was held at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS).
Sharlestin Susngi, a sanitation supervisor of NEIGRIHMS, also became the person in the state to receive the vaccine.
NEIGRIHMS Director (In-Charge) Dr Prithwis Bhattacharyya and Medical Superintendent, Dr Suvamoy Chakraborty also received the vaccine today. According to officials, there has been no report of side effects so far in the state.
Earlier this week 35,000 doses of ‘Covishield’ reached the state. In the first phase 16,000 health workers will receive the first dose to be followed by a second round in a few days as per laid down protocols.
During his visit to NEIGRIHMS hospital for monitoring the vaccination process, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma termed the nation-wide roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine as a historic and proud moment for every citizen of the country and emphasised that the launch was a positive step in the year-long fight against the virus.
“We have been fighting Covid-19 for almost a year now and this has really taken a big toll I should say on the nation, on the economy and lives of every citizen of this nation and today this vaccine roll-out is a very positive step towards our fight against Covid-19. We have been fighting Covid-19 in many ways but this vaccination program and the rolling out of this is a historic day, a day to be proud and the day for citizens of this nation and the world as a whole, to feel confident that we will be able to overcome this very soon,” Sangma told reporters.
Stating that the inoculation process would take time to complete, the CM also cautioned people not to let their guard down against the virus and follow all necessary Covid protocols to contain the spread of the disease.
“We should all always remember that the fight against Covid-19 will continue. It’s not that this vaccine will immediately take it away and tomorrow everything will be normal. The vaccination program will take time to complete, everybody cannot get vaccinated at the same time, maybe this program will continue for six months, eight months, maybe a year and even more so, therefore I request and urge all the citizens of Meghalaya that we should not take it lightly, we should continue to follow all the norms and the precautions and the guidance that has been given by the health department,” he urged.
A total of 100 health workers got vaccinated at NEIGRIHMS and 732 in the different districts of the state.
The other beneficiaries include 24 at Mawphlang CHC, East Khasi Hills District, 60 at Resubelpara CHC, North Garo Hills District, 100 at Jowai Civil Hospital, West Jaiñtia Hills District, 101 at Ampati Civil Hospital, South West Garo Hills District, 49 at Umsning CHC, Ri Bhoi District, 100 at Sutnga CHC, East Jaiñtia Hills District, 100 at Nongstoin CHC, West Khasi Hills District, 98 at Holy Cross Hospital, West Garo Hills District and 100 at Williamnagar Civil Hospital, East Garo Hills.
Two districts — South West Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills, which were previously left out due to connectivity issues will complete the process by Sunday.
Meanwhile, National Health Mission (NHM) managing director informed that the vaccination programme is based on the principles of priority groups in which the healthcare workers both in the government and private sectors received the vaccine during this phase.
The vaccination drive used Co-WIN, an online digital platform developed by the Health Ministry to facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and tracking of vaccine recipients.
The official said that healthcare and frontline workers are the first to receive the vaccination, second group will be persons above 50 years and persons with co morbid conditions. Subsequently the vaccine will be made available to all others in need.
“Two doses of the vaccine, 2 – 4 weeks apart (based on the type of vaccine), need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule. A certificate shall be given to the beneficiaries post vaccination,” he said.
“Considering the limited availability of the vaccine initially, persons who are at maximum risk of getting infected with COVID-19 and population having risk of high mortality will be vaccinated first,” he added.
Information on the phase 2 roll out, registration process and details about where and when the vaccination sessions will be provided closer to the implementation period.
Stating that the vaccination drive will continue from today and the State aims to cover all its healthcare workers within a short period of time, the NHM official said the State’s experience in handling routine immunization and remarkable achievement of 92% immunization coverage during COVID period has given the confidence to deal with the new vaccine.