In wake of new Covid-19 variant, Assam govt to launch week-long mega vaccination drive from Nov 29
With the advent of the South African Covid-19 variant - named “Omicron” by WHO - in several countries across the world, the Assam government on November 27 announced a massive vaccination drive to achieve a 100 per cent vaccination target in the state.
Addressing the press, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the campaign will be launched on November 29 and a deadline of December 5 has been set to achieve a 100 per cent first dose vaccination target in the state.
“In view of the new Covid-19 variant, Assam government has set a target of 100 per cent vaccination, even as the country is safe from this new variant, till now,” Sarma said, adding that the state administration will go to every village to verify whether 100 per cent vaccination has been completed.
So far, 2.104 crore people in Assam have been vaccinated with the first dose. The remaining 3 lakh people need to be given the same, he said. “If successful, Assam will be one of the states in the Northeast to be 100 per cent vaccinated with the first dose,” he added.
Stating that 1.15 crore people have received the second dose of the vaccine (50%), Sarma hopes that by the end of March, second doses will be administered to all, making Assam a fully vaccinated state.
Reiterating that inoculation is a must to counter the virus, Sarma stressed on intensifying the vaccination drive. “Once we complete the first dose, we will complete the second dose within three months,” he said.
Under this new vaccination drive, inoculation will be done in all the state’s 28,200 polling booths. Gazetted officers will visit households under their respective booths to ensure every adult is vaccinated with at least the first dose, informed the chief minister. Sarma further added that he will be supervising the drive and all other ministers, MLAs and MPs, will also visit polling stations in their respective constituencies as a part of the campaign.
“This new variant (Omicron) is 300 times stronger than the Delta variant. Our Prime Minister has reviewed the situation and the screening of travellers from the affected countries will be intensified. In such a situation, people have to be alert. This is a global health warning,” he said.
Notably, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Omicron to be a “variant of concern" that may increase the re-infection risk.
On Friday, the Union government told principal health secretaries of all state governments to ensure “rigorous screening and testing” of all international travellers, landing in India from “at-risk” countries, including Hong Kong, Israel, UK, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Botswana, to name a few.
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