A mega vaccination drive is being undertaken in Assam that aims to inoculate about seven lakh people today to mark the 71st birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Of them about 60,000 will be vaccinated in state capital Guwahati alone. The state has set up 4,000 Covid vaccination centres to reach the milestone.
To raise awareness about the inoculation drive, the government is doing door-to-door campaigning, using bulk SMSes, and has also dispatched "guardian" ministers to all the districts, according to officials.
According to a health official, the government is aiming to make up for the low count of second doses. About 1.7 crore, which is over 75 per cent of Assam's eligible population, have received their first doses while only 39.1 lakh (16 per cent) have received both the doses, until Friday morning.
"We are aiming to bridge that gap. These kinds of mega vaccination drives give a big push, and are confidence-building measures, motivating people to participate," said Lakshmanan S, Assam's Mission Director of the National Health Mission.
"We have made preparations for eight lakh doses, but our target is seven lakh. Our best one-day record, so far, has been 4.5 lakh, which we achieved on August 17. So, this is nearly double of that," said Mr Lakshmanan.
Teams comprising five-six health workers have been deployed at each Covid Vaccination Centres (CVC) for the entire exercise.
"The target is to administer about 200-250 shots per CVC, but our special focus is on areas that have low coverage," said Munindra Nath Ngatey, director of health services (family welfare) as well as state nodal officer for Covid vaccination.
In a video message yesterday, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma appealed to the people to come out in vast numbers for the mega vaccination drive.
"To truly win the fight over Covid, just taking the first dose is not enough, we have to take the second one too. Tomorrow is Honourable Prime Minister Modi's birthday and our finest gift to him would be to ensure the huge success of the mega vaccination drive on September 17," he said in the video.