In view of the decline in Covid-19 cases in the state, the health department is gearing up to take vaccinations to every household in the rural areas.
“We are focusing on door-to-door programme where the vaccinators will go and provide the vaccination in the rural areas,” Principal Secretary in-charge Health & Family Welfare Sampath Kumar said here, on Saturday.
He said that though vaccination drives have successfully penetrated into the rural areas of the state and are garnering positive response from the people, some villagers, however, are finding it difficult to come to vaccination centres owing to their day-to-day livelihood activities. “We will also review the programme on a weekly basis and ensure that we have good vaccination coverage,” he said.
Kumar said there are certain districts where focus on rural areas is paramount. Informing that West Garo Hills, with its many rural pockets, is hundred per cent vaccinated, he said certain areas of East Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills need intensive exercise.
“West Khasi Hills and the new district in Mairang (Eastern West Khasi Hills) also require improvement of the vaccination coverage. These are areas where the deputy commissioners are actually stepping up and taking essential steps,” he said.
Stating that the Covid-19 cases have significantly declined compared to last month, Kumar said efforts are afoot to ensure vaccination is provided to all the eligible people. “Over 72 per cent of the population got vaccinated in the state of Meghalaya. This is the first line of defense. We are also focusing on the second dose as many people are now eligible for it,” he informed.
The senior government official further added that the government is also taking steps to ensure all children between 15 to 18 years are vaccinated as the schools are opening up.
Meanwhile, lauding the Covid-appropriate behavior of the people in the state, the principal secretary informed that a “zero prevalence study” conducted by a team from Indian Institute of Physical Health (IIPH), Shillong, has revealed that many people in the state have kept Covid-19 at bay by following precautionary measures.
For the study, the team of IIPH collected over 6,000 blood samples randomly from the across the state to check whether they have any antibodies related to Covid and to detect the infection, its severity and percentage, he informed.
“We did this study in September, October, November; almost by the end of the Delta wave. The study report shows that our infection is only 42 per cent. This implies that a large number of people have been actually able to prevent Covid infection by wearing masks and following social distancing. So, our (Covid-appropriate) community behaviour is good,” Kumar said, adding that many people in the state are waiting to get the booster doses, but since they got Omicron, now, they have to wait for three months before that could be administered.
Kumar also said that some anti-vax groups are impeding the government’s goal of achieving 100 per cent vaccination in the state.
“We have asked the deputy commissioners to actually call these groups and impart scientific information to them, counsel them. Yes, you can always have an opinion, but at the same time you also have to understand what everyone is saying. Vaccination is something that has been proven by our own data. It’s not that the data is coming from outside. According to our own data, the deaths that are occurring due to Covid in the state are mostly unvaccinated. That itself shows that vaccinated people are actually doing better than the unvaccinated,” he said.