Vaccination drives in the tribal areas of north-eastern states have met with roaring success, thanks to tireless efforts put in by health workers. They took the vaccination drive to inaccessible hilly areas and villages located at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level. They organized vaccination camps in places where people find it difficult to venture out of their homes. The pace of vaccination has been pretty satisfactory in tribal-dominated areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim, particularly in villages where health workers with the help of local communities are carrying out door to door vaccination.
A two-day Covid vaccination camp was organized in Mago, India's last village on the Tibet border, 35 km from Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Most people in this village venture out in search of greener pastures with their cattle towards the Tibet border. Vaccinating this group of people was the biggest challenge considering the fact that many of them either return home with their herd late evening or sometimes even the next morning. "We identified particular spots in Chuang, Lunar, Chigyap which are on route to the Mago village that these people usually take. So, we organized camps there to vaccinate them", says RD Thangon, the Additional DC of camps.
Vaccination camps were also organized at Yaya Tasogai in Jethang, located an hour away from Mago village. Somehow 16 shepherds were left out from getting vaccinated, but a special camp was organized later, especially for them.
The route to Jethang and Mago village is highly inaccessible due to rocky terrain, yet health workers walked for hours with a vaccine box on their shoulders to ensure that the villagers were jabbed. They even set up camps in Langthang village, situated at an altitude of 14,000 feet from Thawang district.
The onset of monsoon rains has further increased the challenges of conducting vaccination drives in these states. Yet, amid torrential rains, health workers have been successful in vaccinating people here with zero wastage.Apart from Arunachal Pradesh, the pace of vaccination among the tribal community in other states of the Northeast is also quite satisfactory. In Nagaland around 5 lakh people have already been jabbed.
The onset of monsoon rains has further increased the challenges of conducting vaccination drives in these states. Yet, amid torrential rains, health workers have been successful in vaccinating people here with zero wastage. In Dimapur, Nagaland, 185,652 people have been vaccinated against Covid so far, among them 163,544 were those who were jabbed with the first dose and 22,108 have received both. Health workers have succeeded in vaccinating a large chunk of people in Manipur's Ukhrul, Chandel and Senapati districts, which are 40 per cent tribal-dominated.The number of people here getting vaccinated through the walk-in,but online registration process is also quite high.
Vaccines have also been delivered in villages located at an altitude of several thousand feet in the Champhal and West Xanthia hills of Mizoram and Meghalaya. Initially, it due to vaccine hesitancy it was difficult to persuade people in the tribal communities of Tripura and Sikkim to get vaccinated, this was also because of certain practices and traditions, which entail worshipping a particular deity that prohibit being injected with any kind of needles. The vaccination campaign team, however, cleared all confusion, assuring the villagers that getting the vaccine does not violate any kind of community or religious belief. Thereafter, the villagers turned up for vaccination in large numbers.