Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that 92 per cent of those who died due to COVID-19 in the state had not taken even a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
He said that of the 749 Covid deaths in Meghalaya - the state with second highest mortality rate of 1.68 per cent in the region after Nagaland (1.97 per cent) - at least 691 people were not vaccinated.
The Chief Minister's statement comes as vaccination hesitancy is affecting the state's inoculation coverage.
The Ministry of Health and Family welfare had on Wednesday said Meghalaya has inoculated only 74 percent of its healthcare workers with the first dose and only 48 percent people in the category have received their second dose. The state has also performed poorly in terms of vaccinating its frontline workers, those above 45 and those above 18.
So far, nearly eight lakh people have been vaccinated in Meghalaya, including both the first and the second dose.
There have been instances of vaccine hesitancy in several parts of Meghalaya where people aren't getting vaccinated fearing side effects. Several attempts of the government to spread awareness among people had no major effect so far.
Chief Minister Sangma lamented that there are some elected representatives who have been openly criticizing the vaccination drive.
"I would like to say that being elected members we have a responsibility to ensure our people are protected. As members we do our research. The entire world is doing research, evidence is clear that vaccination is saving lives," he said.
"So, I would urge these members who are unnecessarily creating confusion among the people to please act responsibly - if you are not interested in saving people's lives, at least don't say anything which will discourage people from taking the vaccine," he added.
Reiterating that vaccination is absolutely necessary, the Chief Minister urged all elected members and everybody to vaccinate against COVID-19.
"We are moving forward aggressively. Our numbers are almost touching eight lakh now - so the numbers in the weeks and months to come are going to go up," he said.