The police had to be called in to manage the angry crowd in Lakhimpur, which is already under round-the-clock curfew. Many of the districts, which faced the brunt of the second wave, saw such scenes of disorder at vaccination centres.
The second dose is due for a large chunk of the population this month as the gap between the two doses for Covishield has been increased to 12-16 weeks. While those aged 45 years and above were included for vaccination from April 1, the phase III of the vaccination drive started from the first week of May for those in the age group of 18 to 44 years.
Data procured from the state immunization office stated that 87,919 people are still waiting for their second dose of Covaxin and 3,39,093 beneficiaries are waiting for their second shot of Covishield.
“We have accelerated the inoculation drive from this week. With t he availability of Covid-19 vaccines, the revised target of daily inoculation is now 2.5 lakh. At this pace, it will take 140 more days to vaccinate the entire 2.31 crore population in Assam,” immunization spokesperson and director of health services (family welfare), Assam, Munindra Nath Ngatey, told TOI on Monday.
Among 2.31 crore population, over 4.62 crore doses are to be administered. Of these, about 1.10 crore doses have already been administered. Till date, a total of 89.65 lakh 18+ population has been vaccinated with the first dose in Assam and 19.68 lakh got the second dose. Health officials felt that after six-and-a-half months since the beginning of the vaccination drive, there are still a few pockets where people are hesitant to get vaccinated due to the myths surrounding vaccinations.
Every Covid vaccination centre (CVC) has the capacity to vaccinate 150-200 beneficiaries per day by one team of health staff. If vaccines are available, even two teams can be placed in one CVC. “There is no end to vaccination requirements. The more consignments we get, the more relief there will be from the third wave,” a senior health department official said. Seuti Konwar, an elderly housewife, had to queue up since early morning at a centre at Dhalpur in Lakhimpur district to get vaccinated.
“Many of our neighbours are not aware of the availability dates. I learned from my neighbour when vaccines would be given. All we need is a mechanism to inform us in advance. Otherwise many will lose their valuable time queueing up during the busy paddy sowing season,” she said.
In Guwahati, despite a high awareness campaign, many people are yet to get vaccinated. Chandan Kumar Saikia, general secretary of KK Handique Nagar Unnayan Committee, who attended such a drive on Monday, said, “There are about 15,000 people in our area but till now only about 3,000 have been vaccinated at least by one dose. We are ready to support organizations to make the vaccination camps a success.”