TODAY -

Overcoming vaccine hesitancy toughest challenge
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: January 15, 2022 -



BY emphasising on local containment measures and for maintaining the momentum in the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rung out the message that the Union government wouldn't be taking any harsh decision, at-least until the prevailing pandemic situation threatens to spiral out of control.

Without an iota of doubt, tackling the unprecedented health issue will rest entirely on how the people respond to the emergency situation.

While staying indoors for a day or two wouldn't be much of an issue to those who could afford to store essential goods, consumer items in particular, harsh measures like curfew and lockdown will not only create serious problems for many poor families who are struggling to even have two square meals a day but is certain to be severely criticised by leaders of opposition parties, who playact as the guardian of the underprivileged section of the society.

Moreover, as India is home to uncountable number of people whose only means of sustenance is working every day, the strategy for fighting the coronavirus will have to be finely balanced between keeping the health sector ready to face any eventualities and preventing the pandemic from derailing the economy as had been experienced during the first wave.

Having learnt the bitter lesson that lockdown is not feasible in a developing economic like India, the Union government refrained from imposing lockdown during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic that wreaked havoc and seriously, impacted the healthcare sector in-spite of attributing the same exercise when first wave waned on its own.

Notably, subsequent to onset of the second wave and loss of hundreds of lives on a daily, the Supreme Court directed the central and state governments to consider enforcing a ban on mass gatherings and super spreader events as well as imposing a lockdown.

In response, the Union and state governments opted for micro containment measures and home isolation to respectively keep the economy functional and ease the burden on hospitals.

As such it is understandable that the neither the Union government nor the state's authorities would go for lockdoyvn even as health experts predict that current wave of the pandemic sweeping across the country will see higher number of infections than in the first two waves.

Regardless of acknowledging that Omicron variant of the coronavirus has been infecting people many times faster than the earlier variants, the Prime Minister advised the chief ministers during a virtual meeting on Thursday that the efforts to prevent further spread of the pandemic should be a combination of readyihg the healthcare system to meet the tough challenge lying ahead and ensuring continuation of livelihood activities.

While it needs no reminding that strict adherence to the Covid appropriate behaviour by all would be decisive in taming the virus, it is the low rate of vaccination in the state, particularly in the hill districts which is likely to be an impediment in keeping the contagion under control.

In his address, PM Modi exhorted the chief ministers to ensure that no panicky situation is created but in Manipur's context instilling fear might help in scaling up the vaccination rate as could be comprehended from people standing in serpentine queues at designated vaccination centres during the second wave.

The keenness to get jabbed literally evaporated in sync with the improvement in the pandemic situation consequently prompting the state government to initiate various measures such as launch of drone service to deliver vaccine consignment and mobile vaccination vehicles to facilitate administration of the vaccine doses at the convenience of the eligible citizens.



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