Assam paces up Covid vaccine second shot

GUWAHATI: The Assam government has stepped up the second dose campaign for Covid vaccine in the state in the wake of spike in cases of the new variant. Among those shortlisted for the second dose are bureaucrats.
Over eight lakh vaccine doses were released for inoculation in the districts to pace up the drive on Saturday. “All logistic hurdles have been addressed to ensure the vaccine doses reach the districts soon. New districts which do not have vaccine-carrying vans, have been assisted by neighbouring districts,” Assam state cold chain officer, BK Choudhury, told TOI on Saturday.
While the state has received 6.33 lakh Covishield doses, 4.94 lakh have been released to the districts. According to official estimates, 1,44,833 Covishield doses have been administered, which accounts for 31% of the Covishield doses released. In addition, the consignments of vaccine released for the defence force, mainly for the army, comprise 1.30 lakh doses, which can be preserved for six months from the date of manufacture.
Assam received 2.11 lakh Covaxin doses made by Bharat Biotech and of these, 1.88 lakh doses have been released for inoculation at the health centres. Around 7.22% (11,223) Covaxin doses have been administered. The current target in the state is to vaccinate 95,000 people, mostly from Assam police, home guards, prison staff, disaster management, with Covaxin, which has much limited supply, as compared to the widely available Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield.
“Covishield is being administered to all central armed police personnel because they may get transferred anywhere in the country soon after getting the first dose. Their second dose should also be the same vaccine. So we have stayed away from using Covaxin on them,” said immunization spokesperson and director of health services (family welfare), Munindra Nath Ngatey.
The overall performance measure of the percentage of successful inoculation for the first dose has been 63% in Assam, said health sources. With faith in the vaccine returning, as there have been no serious adverse impacts of the vaccine anywhere in the state, the overall performance for the second dose has touched 67%.
The drive that started covering government officials from Friday, has infused positivity among the staff. “I have taken the Covid vaccine, and there has been no adverse effect at all. I would like to request all of our frontline workers to follow suit and come forward for the vaccination,” said Jishnu Baruah, Assam chief secretary.

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