In northeast India’s Arunachal Pradesh, a mountainous frontier state, to reach the nook and corner of any district is an uphill task, almost literally, let alone inoculating the population with COVID-19 vaccines. Add to that incessant monsoon rain, flooded terrains, no commutable roads at places, and a general hesitancy among the people against the vaccines.
Going against all these odds, East Siang district of south-central Arunachal Pradesh had not just managed to reach out but, inoculated over 90 per cent of the eligible population of those above 18 years old in the past 12 days after the Centre rolled out Vaccination Maha Abhiyan on June 21.
“We have managed to cover over 42 thousand people out of the districts’ eligible population as per electoral roll of 46,217 people (since electoral rolls include those above 18 years) since the Vaccination Maha Abhiyan had begun,” Kinny Singh, Deputy Commissioner of East Siang told News Move on Saturday.
The district has 12 medical teams each comprising of five officials to cover the six circles within it of which, two get isolated during monsoons and one is located in high terrains.
“Due to flooding of surrounding rivers, the Rebo-Perging and Kebang circles become like islands and cut off from the mainland. The Kora circle, on the other hand, is located in a high altitude and goes through rugged terrains,” Singh said.
The district administration had to reach out to isolated circles on boats.
“The inclement weather was one of the biggest hurdles because it gets hard to reach those places. The other was vaccine hesitancy among certain people,” Singh said.
She said after the vaccination drive had begun, the district inoculated around 1,800 people every day which has now saturated to 800, Singh said.
“We have sent out teams from the district administration to counsel with those areas where there is hesitancy regarding vaccination and we have managed to bring in a lot of people,” she said adding.
Singh has targeted to attain 100 per cent inoculation by July 15 and to keep the team motivated, the best performing medical team among the 12 gets felicitated.