COVID Vaccine: Apprehensions leading to low turnout among Nagaland health workers

Nagaland, Feb 15: Nagaland has recorded “low” response due to apprehensions surrounding the COVID vaccine, confirmed health minister S Pangnyu Phom.

The health minister’s response came in response to a starred question raised by Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Dr Chumben Murry during the second day of the ongoing Assembly session on Monday.

Murry raised concerns about the response of the frontline medical workers towards COVID-19 vaccination drive. He questioned the government’s actions taken by the Department to allay any fears and improve the state’s vaccination.

Nagaland received 26,500 dosages of Covishield COVID vaccine and is expected to cover around 12,000 health care workers in health units for the first phase.

As per the health department, around 31% of registered healthcare workers have been vaccinated in the state. The COVID-19 vaccination is voluntary and not made mandatory.

Health minister S Pangnyu Phom responded saying that the low response towards vaccination was due to apprehensions.

One reason cited was that there are “unfounded misinformation and news of adverse events” being circulated on the various social media platform.

Another reason for the low response is hesitancy amongst beneficiaries on account of the COVID-19 vaccine being a new vaccine and the apprehensions surrounding the side effects.

To allay apprehensions and improve vaccination, the health department said that sensitisation workshops are being conducted to motivate field workers, including Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (ANM), Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), and Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) by Community Health Officers (CHOs).

Also Read: Nagaland: No adverse effect among vaccinated healthcare workers

Such workshops are also conducted with faith-based organisations, civil societies, media, village functionaries, government officials at the state, district and block levels.

The health department also confirmed that poor internet connectivity also accounts for the low response as information updates to COWIN portal is challenged.

While information about the safety of the vaccines is circulated, the health department informed that videos of known medical practitioners and senior officials as “influencers” spreading positive messages of the vaccination are also circulated online.