A dozen doctors in Assam have volunteered to take the first vaccine shots today at the Gauhati Medical College to dispel rumours about the Covid vaccine and encourage their fraternity as the country gears up for the the world's biggest inoculation drive against the deadly coronavirus.
Assam has registered 2.9 lakh frontline healthcare workers for the first phase of the vaccination drive, of whom 1.9 lakh will be inoculated today.
The state has received 2.21 lakh doses of Covid vaccines so far. This includes over 2 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine and 20 thousand doses of Covaxin indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech.
Assam is the only northeastern state that has received doses of both the approved vaccines. All the other northeastern states have been given only Covishield doses, officials have said.
Vaccination drive will be conducted at 65 centres across Guwahati today, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said, adding, each centre will administer the shots to 100 health workers.
"Covishield vaccine will be administered at 59 centres and Covaxin at six centres across all 33 districts. We have clearly demarcated where the two vaccines will be given," Mr Sarma said.
Assam's strategy is to ensure that the 10,000 health workers who have been involved in "hardcore Covid duties" will be "encouraged" to take the jab, since it is a completely voluntary process, he said.
Chief ministers of the northeastern states will formally kick start the vaccination process today in the capitals of eight states - Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim.
Tripura has received 56,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield and the vaccine will be administered to 1,700 beneficiaries in 17 session sites across eight districts of the state.
In Manipur, the Covid-19 vaccine will be administered in the first phase at 10 places, including the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), District Headquarters of Churachandpur, Senapati, Ukhrul, Chandel and Bishnupur.
In Mizoram, four centres have been exclusively set up for this purpose at Civil Hospital in Aizawl, ITI Urban Primary Health Centre, Zoram Medical College and hospital and Lunglei Civil Hospital.
In each of these centres, 100 health workers will be administered the vaccine in the first phase.
Mizoram health officials said that 14,421 healthcare workers so far have registered for vaccination in the state and the state is prepared for the Covid-19 vaccination.
In Meghalaya, 16,000 healthcare workers will be vaccinated in the first phase.
In Nagaland, around 12,000 health workers in different health care facilities will be administered doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in the first phase.
Official records show close to 3,000 people have died of Covid in the northeast and over 3.31 lakh people across the region have been infected so far.