With the support of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the state health department is mulling over a new app for enlisting these beneficiaries. Apart from vaccination at workplaces, the health department is wary of encouraging door-to-door inoculation because if any adverse effect happens after the shot, urgent hospitalisation could be difficult.
However, there is a growing demand for vaccination at home of people who cannot go to vaccination centres on health grounds and other reasons. The health department is preparing an SOP for vaccinating such people at home. Sources in the health department told TOI that the SOP is most likely to be published this weekend, wherein relaxation will be given to the people from rural areas and tea garden workers to get the vaccination through offline registration.
“The SOP is going to make door-step vaccination of select groups official in the state. Even sadhus and beggars will be brought under the ambit of the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Assam soon,” a senior official of the health department said.
He said the thrust is on inoculating all those for whom online registration and booking slots on Co-WIN is not feasible.
After the second wave of Covid hit the state, there are about 579 active cases in state prisons as of Thursday evening. An estimated 9,000 prisoners are there in various jails across the state. Following the Union home ministry’s guidelines to inoculate prisoners, around 2,258 jail inmates have been vaccinated in Assam, including the convicted and those under trial.
“Those who have their documents are being inoculated. But for those prisoners, who don’t have any documents, the jail authorities and district administration are certifying their names for Covid-19 vaccination. We have been extra cautious and decongesting the jails, wherever possible,” said Barnali Sharma, IG (Prisons), Assam.
Even after gearing up to expedite the vaccination drive, scarcity of doses for the young remains a major concern to inoculate the 18+ category. In jails too, most of the inmates are from this group. “The demand for vaccines is enormous but the vaccine stock is drying up at a rapid pace. For the 18-44 category, about 50,000 doses are left in stock. We need some consignments urgently for the 18+ group,” immunization spokesperson and director of health services (family welfare), Assam, Munindra Nath Ngatey, said.
The district administration in Guwahati had ordered the screening of beggars for Covid. “We heard about the vaccines but if the government does not approach us, we don’t know the process of getting vaccinated. I left home months ago, no one from my family bothered to know my health status,” said Satya Das from Chirang district, who was spotted in Fancy Bazar on Thursday.