Procure vaccines without delay

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The reports continue to pour in regarding non-availability of Covid-19 vaccines in Kashmir and the Divisional Commissioner has  indirectly admitted the shortage saying though the J&K government has placed an order of 1.2 crore doses, however, there can be difficulty as other States have also placed orders with the spread of the virus in many parts of the country. The shortage of vaccines is a cause of worry for everyone. Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing sharp spike in the Covid-19 positive cases and subsequent infection related deaths. In such a situation it the vaccine alone that provides some light at the end of the dark tunnel of the pandemic and therefore the Union Territory administration has to gear up to ensure that J&K gets requisite doses of vaccines without any further delay. The official data regarding vaccination drive shows a downward trend from past more than a week now and while the administration had assured people that vaccines would be available, nothing of the sort is visible on the ground. It is high time that the administration comes clean about the issue and communicates with the masses unambiguously regarding the availability as well as procurement of doses. The silence and sometimes the contradictory statements by the authorities is adding to the confusion and thus provides the rumour mongers a field day who are hell bent to vitiate the atmosphere. To provide doses of vaccines to all eligible age groups is the prime responsibility of the government and it can in no way shy away from it.

Now that the government has made it clear that J&K government has placed an order of 1.2 crore doses, the excuses like “there can be difficulty as other States have also placed orders” are unacceptable. The authorities have to understand that the Covid restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir will bear fruits only if the vaccination drive is carried out side by side. While peoples’ staying at home will help break the spread of the pandemic, the aggressive vaccination will ensure that the population moves towards permanent safety.  As per census 2011, the population of Jammu and Kashmir is 12,267,032 and when those below 18 years are deducted, it is not a huge population for which the administration can’t arrange enough doses of vaccines. The only thing that the administration needs to have is the will to perform. It has to walk extra mile to ensure the safety of its people and ensure that the required doses of vaccines are put at the disposal of health institutions. The people too, while strictly following Covid SOPs, should come forward and shun, if any, vaccine hesitancy and get the jab. The pandemic has created havoc all over the world and at the moment following SOPs and getting vaccinated are the only ways to save lives. While for making people to follow SOPs, the authorities have enforced lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir, it should also prioritize the vaccination drive.

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