Meghalaya gears up for COVID 19 vaccination drive on Saturday

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The 11 months ‘wait’ is over, along with the rest of the country, the state government is all set to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday.

“Over 16,000 health workers will be vaccinated across the state from tomorrow onwards under the first phase of the vaccination drive against COVID-19,” Health Minister AL Hek told reporters on Friday.

He said that the state has already received 35,000 doses from the Serum Institute of India. “The health workers will receive two doses each and the first dose will be given from tomorrow,” he added.

The massive countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the state, Hek informed that the chief minister Conrad K Sangma will launch the vaccination drive from the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) hospital here.

Asked, the health minister, who had earlier expressed readiness as the first person to be vaccinated, said that the first phase is exclusively for the health workers.

“Not the citizens, not the politicians, but only health workers will be vaccinated under the first phase of the drive,” he said.

Stating that participation in the drive would be ‘voluntary’, Hek said, “We cannot force any of the health workers as vaccination will be purely voluntary.”

 Earlier today, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong appealed to all health workers to get vaccinated.

“Can the government force them, we cannot so it is upto them but our appeal to all the health workers please get vaccinated,” he said.

 Allaying the fear of side-effects, Tynsong said, “There is no issue or no doubt at all that there will be a complication after the vaccination because this has been tested properly so I request all the health workers to get themselves vaccinated.”

According to him, the next in line for the vaccination will be children below the age of 10 years and elderly persons above 60 years of age.

As per the health department sources, 2304 central institute healthcare workers will be involved as upto 100 health care workers will be vaccinated on the first per site. There are 172 cold chain points set up in the state.