Covid-19: Walk-in jabs soon for 18-plus in Assam | Guwahati News

GUWAHATI: The Assam government will soon make walk-in vaccination facility available for 18-44 age-groups, especially in rural areas.
A high level meeting of the health department was held here on Wednesday, following the Centre’s direction to start vaccination for the 18+ through the offline mode. Though a panel constituted to explore the possibilities to launch the offline vaccination for 18+ through walk-in registration is awaiting the state health minister’s nod, government sources told TOI that initially, the rural areas under gram panchayats and tea garden workers are likely to be given the new option. The state health department is set to come up with an SOP regarding the offline vaccination.
“A large number of people living in rural areas are struggling to register their names in the Co-WIN portal. They are not able to get the vaccination slots,” said a senior government official. The offline option may be available this week itself, if the health minister gives his nod, government sources said.
Tea garden workers, living in both rural and urban belts, have been among the most vulnerable groups during the second wave and a large chunk of the tea community members are in a helpless situation for not being tech savvy to monitor the Co-WIN app. The low literacy rate combined with lack of digital literacy has put the 10 lakh strong workforce in Assam’s tea gardens in a fix during the mandatory online registration. Till recently, tea gardens in Dibrugarh and Golaghat have been found most vulnerable with about 1,000 positive cases from the two upper Assam districts alone.
Numerous leading organizations have objected to the online mode for booking slots because of poor access to gadgets by a large section of the target group. Even organizations like the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad have helped a section of people register their names in the portal but they also failed to get the slots because of glitches.
Government sources said that in the urban areas the 18+ vaccination may remain restricted to online booking for a while. “In Guwahati city and other towns, there is a huge demand for vaccines from the young people. If both online and offline options are opened in such densely populated areas, there can be a chaotic situation and an unusual rush, which is not desired at this juncture,” the source added.
Till Wednesday morning, 38.98 lakh doses of Covid vaccine was administered in Assam but for the 18+ category a target of around only 4.6 lakh doses could be achieved till date. Despite the bigger number of beneficiaries accounting for 1.8 crore people in the state between 18-44 years, the vaccine stock was around 98,100 for this group on Wednesday morning. For the 45+ category, 2.6 lakh doses were in stock, though their population is around 70 lakh.

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