Madhya Pradesh's record COVID-19 vaccinations: A behind the scenes account of the success story
The state administration has pulled out all the stops. The sheer logistics of the vaccination drive in Madhya Pradesh are mammoth and awe-inspiring due to the vastness of our state
They say that a will always finds a way. The people of Madhya Pradesh proved this on 21 June, 2021 as the state vaccinated over 1.6 million people in 24 hours. Two days later, on 23 June, our state emerged on top yet again as we were able to vaccinate another 1.1 million people. The intensity of vaccinations did not go down and the state conducted ‘Vaccination Maha Abhiyan-2’ on 25 and 26 August. The success of these exercises is a triumph of the people.
These mega vaccination drives in Madhya Pradesh were planned and executed in a short span of time. The collective will of the people of Madhya Pradesh was manifested through Jan Bhagidari, which made this momentous feat possible. People across the state were confident, and they stepped out in record numbers to get vaccinated, vesting faith in the system.
Meticulous planning and groundwork helped us achieve this feat. And there are a lot of unsung heroes to be thanked – healthcare professionals, frontline COVID warriors, and most importantly, the janata of Madhya Pradesh. Everyone is deeply involved in the vaccination exercise in the state and this energy and commitment are palpable. Maha Abhiyan-2 targeted vaccination of 35 lakh people, but it far exceeded this target as more than 40 lakh people were administered the vaccine.
Targets were bested earlier too. The state administration had initially set a target of vaccinating 1 million people on 21 June. But the Central government had faith in the state's capabilities and dispatched an extra five hundred thousand vaccine doses. The result was that on 21 June Indore district alone witnessed 2.2 lakh vaccinations, with Bhopal and Ujjain following with 1.37 lakh and 1 lakh vaccinations respectively.
How the people of Madhya Pradesh did it
The groundwork for mass vaccination began just a few months ago, when the Madhya Pradesh administration embarked on a state-wide public awareness campaign to encourage vaccination. This campaign continues to run across the state. The campaign dispelled misinformation and prepared the ground for the mega vaccination drive. In fact, the success of the mega vaccination drive proved that there is virtually no vaccine hesitancy among the people of Madhya Pradesh.
In the run-up to the mega vaccination drive, the chief minister visited villages interacting with people one-on-one to encourage them to participate in the vaccination drive. Today, large parts of Madhya Pradesh are becoming fully vaccinated.
Regular one-on-one interactions have helped boost people’s confidence. Vaccination in Madhya Pradesh is a true Jan Bhagidari Abhiyan (people-led movement).
In the days leading to the mega vaccination drive, the state administration set up a special control room to monitor the rollout across 7,500 vaccination centers.
For one whole week ahead of the mega vaccination drive, the state administration organised several marathon meetings in the run-up to the vaccination drive, fine tuning every possible niggle that could affect proper on-ground execution. Crisis management committees were formed at the village, block, and district levels across Madhya Pradesh, which helped a great deal in the smooth conduct of the exercise.
The administration sent all state ministers to their respective constituencies to motivate people to get vaccinated. We also took the help of prominent social figures like Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi to issue vaccination appeals to people.
On day zero, there was an unprecedented turn-out of people at vaccination centers. We welcomed them with refreshments and recorded post-vaccination videos of people, sharing their experience through social media so more citizens felt encouraged and motivated.
Throughout the past one and a half years, the people of Madhya Pradesh have shown exceptional resilience against the pandemic. Across the state, there is belief in the efficacy of vaccines.
The state’s will and determination can be seen in the urgency with which we are moving forward. Health workers across Madhya Pradesh are working tirelessly with the state administration for the swift rollout of vaccines to every citizen throughout the length and breadth of our vast state.
For us, this is just the start.
Vaccination is the best way to beat COVID-19. Vaccines are safe and effective. They train the immune system to create the same disease-fighting antibody proteins that our bodies produce when we are infected with COVID-19, except for the fact that we do not get sick. Vaccines are one of the most important tools to stop the spread of the pandemic.
The success of the mega vaccination drive on 21 June has motivated us no end. Madhya Pradesh is determined to become 100 percent vaccinated and beat the pandemic. This is evidenced in the fact that our state reported the highest number of vaccinations in the country again on 25 and 26 August, after 23 June, when 11 lakh people were inoculated.
The state administration has pulled out all the stops. The sheer logistics of the vaccination drive in Madhya Pradesh are mammoth and awe-inspiring due to the vastness of our state. Some places like Singrauli are 800 kilometres from the state capital Bhopal.
The vaccination drives are planned well and executed to a tee. During the drives, while health workers cater to the actual vaccination, other staff motivate more people to take the jab. In tribal areas, the state administration organizes 'Khatla Baithak' (meeting of charpais/cots) and village level crisis management teams have been mobilized across the state.
And the results have been heartening to say the least. We believe that there is still some distance to be covered to protect the people of Madhya Pradesh from the viral infection, so we will continue making efforts.
Covid-19 vaccination has become a people’s movement in Madhya Pradesh, a manifestation of what people’s will can achieve. Madhya Pradesh is blessed to have people who are gritty and strong-willed. Most of all, it is their resilience, can-do attitude and spirit of cooperation that has made these record vaccinations possible.
The author is professor, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak. The views expressed are personal
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