Meghalaya began its vaccination drive on Saturday administering the jab to 832 health workers.
Officials said the health workers were vaccinated on the first day of the vaccination drive that began in 10 session sites in nine districts of the State.
The health workers were administered with the Covishield vaccine included 101 in Ampati Civil Hospital, 100 each in NEIGRIHMS, Shillong, Jowai Civil Hospital, Sutnga CHC, Nongstoiñ and Williamnagar Civil Hospital, 98 in Holy Cross Hospital, West Garo Hills district, 60 in Resubelpara CHC, North Garo Hills district, 49 in Umsning CHC, Ri Bhoi district and 24 in Mawphlang CHC, East Khasi Hills District.
Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma who attended the launch of the vaccine in NEIGRIHMS said the vaccination programme and its rolling out is a historic day.
He said that it is a historic day because the vaccines were manufactured in India. “I think that has shown the power of the country and its scientists that we can show the whole world, of the kind of work we can do to fight against Covid-19,” Sangma added.
“We have been fighting Covid-19 for almost a year now, and this has really taken a big toll on the nation, on economy and individual’s life of every citizen of this nation and today this vaccine roll out is a very positive step,” Sangma told reporters.
The Chief Minister also cautioned that the fight against Covid-19 will continue since the vaccine will not immediately make the virus disappear. He said the programme might continue for six to eight months or a year and even more.
“We should continue to follow all the norms, the precautions and the guidance that is being given by the health department,” he added.
Sangma informed that in the first phase the health workers will be immunised in the second phase the frontline workers and in the third phase people above 50 years and those with co-morbidities will be included.
The Chief Minister further informed that the first phase of vaccination for 16,000 health workers may take three to four weeks’ time.
Clarifying as to why two districts out of the total 11 in the State were left out in the first phase of vaccination, the Chief Minister said by Sunday the vaccination will be rolled out in those districts too.
“It is only because of connectivity issues that the State authorities could not include the two districts of South West Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills,” he explained.
On apprehension about the vaccines expressed by certain quarters, he said that these have been tried at different phases, and the scientific community has done thorough work.
“We should remember that every vaccine has reactions, in one or two individuals, and that is the reason why they do those, small tests for allergy. Basic reactions may be there in individuals, but in the majority of the cases you will not find any adverse kind of symptoms,” Sangma said.
He said that people should be confident, happy and feel privileged that the government of India has launched the vaccine and it will go a long way in helping fight Covid-19.