While Ladakh has a low population, the achievement is no mean feat considering its arduous terrain, extreme weather patterns, and isolated population centres.
The Union Territory of Ladakh has become the first centrally administered territory to complete 100% vaccination with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for its eligible population. According to reports, it has also vaccinated the entire ‘guest population’, including hotel workers, migrant labourers, and Nepalese citizens who earn their livelihood in the region, reports said.
While Ladakh has a low population, the achievement is no mean feat considering its arduous terrain, extreme weather patterns, and isolated population centres. According to reports citing official data, 89,404 eligible people from all the eligible age groups, including 18-44 years, were administered the first dose. The second jab was administered to 60,936 people. The administration also vaccinated 6,821 Nepalese citizens living in Ladakh. The Union Territory achieved this feat barely three months after beginning the third phase of the vaccination drive.
A senior official said the administration prioritised hotel workers, most of whom hailed from outside, as well as public transport drivers, considering their presence as frontline workers in the tourism industry. Labourers who came from other states during the summer were also prioritised. A large number of the Union Territory’s primary health workers and health centres are experienced in mass vaccination programmes such, which also helped expedite the inoculation drive.
The official said the vaccination programme was not new for health workers at the grassroots level, with their huge experience in mass inoculation drives such as those for Polio. They just took it as another programme that needed to be implemented.
The Ladakh administration had begun vaccinating people in the 18-44 age group even before the Centre had sanctioned it formally. The official said the administration had a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, instead of letting those go to waste, they started vaccinating people in the 18-44 age group after the Centre had in-principle approved their vaccination.