Shillong March 6: ‘Physician, heal thyself’ appears to be not applicable to the health workers in Meghalaya.
The reason is Covid vaccine hesitancy among the health care workers in the state is 10 per cent.
It is an irony that some health workers who are supposed to administer vaccination to others are not vaccinated thereby discouraging people from taking vaccines.
During the question hour in the Assembly on Monday, NCP legislator Saleng Sangma found the view of the government that the health workers will be counselled to take vaccines as ironical.
Earlier in reply to a question by HM Shangpliang (AITC), the Health Minister James Sangma said out of 2,505 , the total number of unvaccinated heath care workers in government hospitals is 2,456 while in private hospitals, the number is 49.
The minister said there are various reasons behind the hesitancy among the health workers as per a report of the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH).
These include – some people are worried about the side effects after vaccination, messages on social media that caused concerns, some of them have not yet decided which vaccines to take because there are many choices, some of them believe that natural immunity is sufficient, some are confused by different messages from different sources, some feel they have developed immunity against the virus, some due to fear of needles, may affect future pregnancy and others.
Sangma said the government is making all out effrts to conduct counselling and create awareness programmes in this regard.
Shangpliang said that what kind of picture, the government is showing to the people when doctors and nurses are not taking the vaccines while it is asking the citizens to get vaccinated.
The health minister, however, said that the counselling has helped to a large extent as lots of people are coming to take the vaccines.
“70-80% of people who were earlier hesitant to take vaccine have now come foward for vaccination,” he said
Saleng wanted to know if the government would give holiday to doctors and health workers who are undergoing counselling as as it would mean they are not in a normal state of mind, resulting in laughter in the House.
However, the health minister said counselling does not mean that the doctors and other health workers are facing mental issues but counselling is to reassure them that vaccines are required for their benefits.
“Conselling was conducted in the month of May and June last year and now less than 1 percent of doctors is yet to take the vaccine,” he said.