Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday exhorted Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Puducherry to speed up their vaccination coverage as they were lagging behind the national average.

According to the Health Ministry, while India’s first dose coverage is at 82 per cent and second dose coverage at 43 per cent, Puducherry is at 66 per cent and 39 per cent), Nagaland (49 per cent, 36 per cent), Meghalaya (57 per cent, 38 per cent) and Manipur (54 per cent, 36 per cent).

According to sources, vaccine hesitancy and accessibility in some hilly and far-flung areas are the major causes for the North-Eastern States not being able to meet the vaccination target.

‘Misinformation a reason’

“Religious faith, misinformation on social media with regard to vaccination and also the long gap between the two doses of Covishield are the major reasons that we are lagging behind in terms of our vaccination coverage,” a Manipur-based Government source told BusinessLine who is directly involved in the Government’s Har Ghar Dastak Campaign.

Meanwhile, a Nagaland-based source echoed the same sentiments. “Accessibility and connectivity are not an issue but vaccine hesitancy is the main hurdle in the tribal areas. There is also a complacency among because of lower Covid cases and the fear of post-vaccination side-effects,” the source added.

‘Rope in stakeholders’

Health Minister Mandaviya urged the States/UT to innovatively rope in all stakeholders including NGOs, faith-based organisations, religious leaders, community influencers and other partners to motivate and mobilise all eligible population towards full Covid vaccination.

Besides this, India administered 67.86 lakh vaccine doses on Monday till 7:30 pm aggregating to 117.58 crore inoculations done so far, as per the CoWIN Dashboard.