Assam Congress leader and Kaliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi urged Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to clear details regarding COVID-19 vaccination in Assam. "I have been following your daily updates on Twitter enumerating the daily vaccination statistics. While the updates on testing reveal an exponential rise in the positivity rate, vaccination administration shows an inverse trend, especially since the first week of May," Mr Gogoi said in the letter.
"It reflects an inconsistent trend and a marked decline. The number plummeted from over one lakh on April 30, 2021 to a mere forty thousand on May 5, 2021," Mr Gogoi said.
He wrote the state began vaccinating 18-45 population on May 7. Since then, the updates on Twitter report the total number of vaccinations administered in a day as a sum of people in both categories -18-45 and above 45.
Despite this cumulative reporting, the total vaccines administered in a day is yet to touch the one lakh mark again.
Furthermore, according to figures calculated by professor Shamika Ravi, former member of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, Assam has vaccinated a mere 2.71 per cent of its eligible population (18+) as on May 7. This puts Assam among the poorest performing states in the country, he said.
While vaccination in Assam presents a grim picture, it is further aggravated by vaccine wastage. According to the Health Ministry, Assam recorded an alarming 7.70 per cent wastage of vaccines, making it one of the top three states reporting maximum vaccine wastage as on May 6.
"The state also reported cases of misuse and out-of-turn vaccinations for ineligible people. Moreover, lack of clear guidelines for population aged 18-45 years and private hospitals granting appointments without actually procuring vaccination doses led to widespread confusion amongst people," Mr Gogoi said.
"I urge the Ministry to declare its targets and deadlines for vaccinating the entire eligible population of Assam. Planning and execution are key to a successful vaccination drive, and therefore, I also seek to understand the Ministry's stance on vaccinating in phases and whether the Ministry plans to prioritise the at-risk and vulnerable population…" he said.
"In light of which, I urge you to make adequate enabling provisions for workers and labourers who may not have access to internet, therefore impairing their ability to get vaccinated. It is crucial to be accommodating of the vulnerable population and ensuring that the vaccination drive in the state of Assam is effective, expeditious and inclusive," Mr Gogoi said.