TODAY -

ECI alert on sluggish vaccination rate in state
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 05, 2022 -



WHILE it's encouraging to learn that beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccination aged 15-19 years showed great enthusiasm to get inoculated, the disheartening part related to the vaccination drive is the directive issued by the Election Commission of India to the government of Manipur for accelerating the pace of the inoculation exercise.

As the ECI instruction was preceded by similar directives to the state from both the health and home ministries, it is now clear that the central authorities are worried over the prospect of Manipur going to the polls with substantial numbers of the franchisees yet to receive the Covid-19 vaccine which the health experts across the world had been advocating as one of the best means to prevent the virus from overwhelming the healthcare systems.

Though the state is relishing over the present manageable number of daily cases, the Commission's instruction preceded by the Central government's directive issued on December 27 last year to all poll-bound states to ramp up Covid vaccination for the eligible population at the earliest indicates that the slow vaccination rate in Manipur makes its citizens highly vulnerable to the contagion and its new variant Omicron.

As the ECI is responsible for facilitating smooth conduct of the upcoming assembly elections, especially in ensuring that the democratic exercise does not turn into Covid-19 super spreader event, the commission obviously would be most eager to see the state vaccinating the eligible beneficiaries to the optimum.

Even if administration of the vaccine does not guarantee that one would remain eternally immune from the infectious disease particularly the highly transmissible Omicron variant, there is no other option left to prevent escalation of positive cases other than taking the vaccine and consequently help ease the burden on healthcare and frontline workers.

In view of the election campaign picking up pace inthe state and the intending candidates simply focussing on strengthening his/her support base, it would be wishful thinking that there would be some divine intervention to stop the pandemic.

Similar to the first two waves of the contagion, the northeast region has been relatively safer even as the number of infections in mainland states has been increasingly rapidly in the midst of outbreak of Omicron cases.

The only foreseeable reason for Manipur's low case count at the juncture is due to the healthcare and frontline workers making relentless effort to ensure that no vectors go undetected and transmit the contagious disease.

On its part, the government too has been working to ramp up infrastructure and install life-saving equipment and medicines in various healthcare centres.

While credit for the gradual improvement in the pandemic situation goes to the healthcare service providers and all the frontline workers for their untiring efforts, it needs no reminding that improvement in the healthcare service and infrastructure would be of little help in case majority of the population does not volunteer to take the vaccine before onset of the imminent third wave of the pandemic.

As such, the ECI expressing concern over the low percentage of inoculation of the first dose of vaccine in the state and asking the government to speed up the vaccination drive need to be accorded top priority.

Accepted that the government authorities cannot force anyone to take the jab but efforts need to be made to prevail upon the masses that as on date getting vaccinated is the surest means to remain safe from the ever mutating coronavirus.



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