Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will be voluntary; the Union Health Ministry has said but...

So far, 16,262 Health care workers received the first dose of COVID 19 vaccination in Meghalaya while, 1643 received the second dose. 12,538 Frontline workers are vaccinated in the state.

So far, 16,262 Health care workers received the first dose of COVID 19 vaccination in Meghalaya while, 1643 received the second dose. A total of12,538 frontline workers are vaccinated in the state.
However, still vaccination hesitancy continues to affect parts of Meghalaya as only around 48.89 percent of the 33,262 health workers have so far received the COVID-19 vaccine jab in the state.
Employees of the National Health Mission (NHM) have alleged the NHM Mission Director of issuing "verbal orders" forcing them to take the COVID-19 vaccine jab, failing which they will have to resign from their jobs.
Some of these employees, who have refused to take the vaccine, were also summoned and asked to explain the reason for their hesitancy here on Thursday.
"We were summoned by the mission director just because we refused to take the vaccine," one of the employees said while speaking to media persons.
The employee also said that the majority of the contractual staff working in the NHM as well as in the National Rural Health Mission has received orders that they should all take the vaccine failing which "we will have to resign from our jobs."
Due to this, many have no other option but to take the vaccine out of fear that they may lose their jobs.
"I personally am not willing to accept the vaccine by force as they need to give us time to take our own decision in this regard," the employee said while reminding us that the government had clearly stated that taking the vaccine would be voluntary.

NHM
Mission Director, Ram Kumar's Denial


 Earlier, NHM mission director, Ram Kumar told reporters that he is not authorized to speak to the media as he denied the allegation made by the employees.

He said the allegation was wrong and that the employees were only called so that they would be given counseling and clearing their doubts about the vaccine.

Health
Minister Al Hek's Take on the Issue

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has defended the Mission Director of the National Health Mission (NHM) citing that his action must have been in the interest of the health workers.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Alexander Laloo Hek said he will seek a report from the Health Department about the allegation of the employees accusing the NHM Mission Director of threatening them to take the COVID-19 vaccine jab.
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"………Let me first see the statement how it has come I have to take the reports from the department why need to force anyone to take the vaccination," Health Minister AL Hek said adding, "Nobody can force anybody to take the vaccination, it has to be voluntarily those who are willing to take the vaccination can take, nobody can threaten also to take the vaccination to our staffs' whether they are permanent staffs, casual staffs or the contractual staffs."
When asked on the issue, health minister AL Hek said that he has not received any formal complaint against employees being forced to take the vaccine.
"If such a complaint is received, definitely I will take action as taking the vaccine is not mandatory but it should be voluntary on the part of the health workers…we cannot force them," he said.
"However, we are appealing to all health workers to take the vaccine because it is for their good so that they are protected and everybody is protected from the COVID-19," Hek added.
According to him, more than 20,000 health workers have already been vaccinated in the state and so far, no complaint of side effects was received by the department.

Chief
Minister Conrad Sangma's Take on the Issue

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has defended the Mission Director of the National Health Mission (NHM) citing that his action must have been in the interest of the health workers.
This came a day after employees of the NHM have alleged the Mission Director Ram Kumar of issuing "verbal orders" forcing them to take the COVID-19 vaccine jab, failing which they will have to resign from their jobs.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Sangma said that he has read about the incident in the newspaper but is yet to know the facts.
"I have not spoken to the NHM Mission Director but I am sure even if he has made that comment, it must be in the interest of the health workers saying that if the vaccination is not there then you are exposed to more danger, exposed to the virus, so it may not be safe for them to be there…so I presume that he may have said in that line," he said.
Stating that the issue should not be looked at as a major issue, the CM said what is important is that vaccination should be done so that the health workers are safe.
"Let us be clear about this fact that it (vaccination) is for the safety of all the health workers and also there has not been any major case of any kind of reaction to the vaccine, it is a very safe vaccine," he said.



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