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Former terror hub Shopian now leads in vaccinating all above 45 against Covid-19

Door to door screening of all individuals for COVID-19 symptoms and identifying high risk groups being conducted by teams to ensure vaccination of any left out in age group of 45 years and above (Pics: Courtesy Twitter/@dmshopian)

Figuring in headlines usually for terrorism-related news, Shopian district in Jammu and Kashmir has achieved a stupendous task of vaccinating everyone above 45 years with the Covid-19 jabs. What makes this feat appreciable is the fact that the Shopian administration leveraged religious leaders to break the taboo against vaccination.

The voter data available with booth level officers for keeping the count of 45 years plus helped the district, making it the second district in India after Jammu to vaccinate that age group.

Also read: Five-bedded Covid care centres set up in J&K villages

Putting Shopian ahead of other regions, this approach was launched in March.

The strategy

Working in tandem with health department, the administration very importantly auqaf committees were roped in. These committees includes mosque administrators who were asked to create awareness and motivate the people.

To get first-hand data from the ground, Anganwadi workers were deployed to for a survey on a house-to-house basis to find out and note the number of 45 plus in each family and house, especially those who were yet to be vaccinated. To fine tune this, the SDMs, tehsildars and others to monitor progress of this data collection.

With Government deciding that all those above 45 need to be vaccinated to curb the Coronavirus pandemic, the Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha, made sure that enough vaccines were available.

Talking to Times of India, Zainpora SDM Mushtaq Ahmad Lone said: “The District Magistrate was involved 24×7. If a village showed signs of decline in the vaccination rate, our focus would be concentrated there the next day.”

Implementation of the drive

The authorities stated that 78,769 in the target age group have been administered. Over 70 vaccination centres were established by the health department, each with a capacity of vaccinating nearly 150 people.

Also read: Intensification Of Vaccination Drive in Kashmir’s Pulwama after surge in new Covid-19 cases

Going beyond patting administration, Lone amply credited the social influencers and police. He told Times of India: “The administration put its entire weight, behind the health department. But it would not have been possible without support from society and its leaders. Police also played a very constructive role.”

Going beyond this singular achievement, the State in order to accelerate vaccination drive, additional Covid-19 care centres in specific panchayats ghars/specific educational institutes across several districts in Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently addressing the issue of spread of Covid-19 in rural areas, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha told the administration to quickly set up small Covid care centres having requisite healthcare facilities and five beds, including one oxygen-supported, in every panchayat for immediate patient care.

Addressing the Jammu and Kashmir people through a video message, Sinha sought active participation from various stakeholders to complement government’s efforts in the fight against Covid pandemic.

"We can effectively tackle the challenge of this global pandemic through the active participation of all elected Panchayat representatives, Teachers, ASHAs, Anganwadi, ANM workers, Village Health Committees and Voluntary Organizations working in the rural areas," he said.