With a target of inoculating nearly three lakh people every day, the vaccination centres are overflowing with people. Though they are in masks, the social distance norm has gone for a toss.
Like the election days, Adivasi student leader Joseph Minz was waiting till noon before he stepped at the vaccination centre at the Doolahat Tea Estate in upper Assam’s Lakhimpur district.
Joseph’s wait only made him a loser on the first day of vaccination Monday, as he had to ultimately take the vaccine last.
There was no respite from the crowd till the end of the drive.
“At around noon, I had to take the vaccine because there was no sign of any decline in the rush of people,” he said.
Joseph tried to manage the crowd but due to the limited number of vaccines administered in the centres each day, the locals dashed to the session site again on Tuesday morning.
“The tea garden people got the information that only 400 doses will be administered in a day. So they rushed to get the shots before their neighbours. It has become like a race,” he added.
The total vaccination in two days crossed the stipulated target of six lakh by Tuesday evening. There was an overwhelming response across villages and towns.
“People should not hurry. The violation of Covid rules can lead to the spread of the virus. We are going to continue the vaccination drive and there will be absolutely no dearth of vaccines. People must come to the vaccination centres as per the daily allocation in their nearby centres,” said vaccination spokesperson Munindra Nath Ngatey.
The highest number of jabs was administered in Kamrup (Metropolitan) district on Tuesday with more than 24,000 beneficiaries getting inoculated. Besides size and population of the districts, the vulnerability in the second wave has been kept in mind by the health department while distributing the vaccines.
But locals blamed proper information-providing mechanism as the reason behind the chaos in many centres.
Partha Saikia of Rangamati went to the Bholaguri Kamala Miri HS School centre in Golaghat district at 8.30am. But the session site was already full with villagers who started arriving there from 6am.
A token system was adopted by the centre management but maintaining a queue was beyond their control.
“District administration should come up with a more systematic approach. Only with prior intimation, beneficiaries should be brought to the vaccination centres. Otherwise chaotic situation in the initial days is very likely to pose another heath threat,” he said.
Golaghat district has reported the third highest number of Covid cases (1,972) in the last 10 days, if new cases during the period are counted for all 33 districts of the state.
For the health officials there is big concern for a few upper Assam districts and Golaghat is one among them.
Even the district can face a lockdown this week, as the state government is considering stricter restrictions in some districts where the situation is yet to come under control.
As per the state immunization office data, there are a total 2.31 crore 18+ population in Assam.
Out of them, 48.71 lakh people have been vaccinated with the first jab, while 11.2 lakh got both doses. Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was hopeful that by August 15, every 18+ citizen in Assam will get the first dose at least.