Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Friday was administered the COVID-19 vaccine in Civil Hospital, Shillong and became the first politician in the state to do so.
Apart from the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Alexander Laloo Hek and two ruling legislators Gavin Miguel Mylliem and Balajied Kupar Synrem also got their first COVID shots at the Shillong Civil Hospital.
“Took my 1st Covid Vaccine shot at Civil Hospital, Shillong. I encourage all our frontline workers and senior citizens to take the vaccine for their protection,” Sangma said.
Earlier, Health and Family Welfare Minister urged the members of the 60-member House assembly to volunteer for vaccination as and when they qualify under the age appropriate category.
“There is no other known way of overcoming a pandemic. I would also like to urge upon them (members) to disseminate the importance of vaccination to their family members and constituents,” Hek said replying to a Call Attention notice tabled by Congress legislator, Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh.
Informing that the vaccine “does not ensure one is infection free”, Hek said it will help in reducing the severity of the infection. “We should also realize that wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and hand washing are to be continued,” he added.
Covishield vaccine developed by Oxford AstraZeneca and produced by Serum Institute India has been used in Meghalaya.
The vaccination drive began in the state from January 16 and 29,929 Health Care Workers, Frontline workers registered for vaccination.
Out of this, 19,186 or 64 percent have received their first shot. Moreover, 26,593 or 60 percent Frontline Workers have been vaccinated so far.
“Till March 11, 63,752 vaccination shots have been administered of which 54,749 are first doses and the rest are second shots,” the Health Minister informed.
Furthermore, he also informed that there are 191 Cold chain points functioning in the state located in over 170 facilities for storage of the vaccines. “There is sufficient space available for storage of vaccines and more additions shall be done in the coming days,” he said.
Moreover, there are over 311 COVID Vaccination Centres which would be further expanded to 450 Centres in the coming days. Fourteen private facilities in five districts have made arrangements to provide vaccinations.
Vaccination is being taken up to the community level through Sub Centres… In order to tackle vaccine hesitancy, brand ambassadors have been empanelled at state level as well as in each District. These ambassadors have all been vaccinated so that they will be able to advocate for vaccination by leading the way,” the Health Minister said.
Apart from this, intensive digital media campaign in three languages viz. English, Khasi and Garo has been carried out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Links of videos, photos, and testimonials are shared in whatsapp for mass awareness, he said.
Meanwhile, till March 9, the State recorded 13,977 COVID-19 positive cases out of which 13,815 or 99 percent have recovered.
“I am very glad to inform the house that as on date we have only 20 active cases in the State with over 60,000 vaccinations completed,” Hek informed.
Tabling a Calling Attention in the House, Congress legislator Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh asked, “why legislators are not considered as frontline workers.”
She said that as per reports, in the second phase police and municipal workers would be vaccinated and in the third phase those aged 50 and above and those below 50 years with co morbidities would be prioritised to receive the vaccination.
“Has the department of health received all the numbers that will require this vaccination,” Lyngdoh asked. She also informed that she has been reading/informed through various sources that there are many non-takers of the vaccine.
“Does the government have the details of those who refused the vaccine? What was their status of work, what efforts have the government put in to impress upon these recipients, especially frontliners of the importance of the vaccination,” Lyngdoh added.