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Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when the alarm bell has already started ringing in Odisha with neighbouring Andhra Pradesh registering its first Omicron case on Sunday, Health and Family Welfare Director Bijay Panigrahi on Monday informed that 41 lakh people of the State are yet to receive their first dose of vaccine. 

“We have set a target to achieve 100 per cent first vaccination by the last week of December. So far, of the total eligible population, 87 percent beneficiaries have received their doses. The rest 13 percent, or 41 lakh people, are yet to be vaccinated,” Panigrahi informed. 

“At present, we have increased the number of vaccination centres in the State. I request those who have not received vaccines should visit their nearest centres without wasting time and take vaccine jabs. The target of cent percent vaccination by December last week can be achieved only when these people will cooperate,” he said adding the first dose vaccination rate is very poor in districts like Mayurbhanj, Kandhamal and Cuttack. 

Informing that 54 percent of the eligible population have had their both doses, Panigrahi urged the people not to lower their guard against Covid-19 since Omicron cases keep on increasing.     

Following the first positive case of Omicron being detected in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, the State government has alerted the districts sharing borders with Andhra Pradesh. 

As of now, the people of the bordering districts are in fear and apprehension. However, Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Dr Rama Raman Mohanty has advised the people not to panic.  

“Instead of fearing, we should follow all the Covid-19 guidelines strictly and this way, the disease can only be kept at bay. The fliers coming to Odisha from foreign countries are being subjected to test at the airport itself. The State has not reported any Omicron positive case so far. None of the 246 samples from clusters sent for genome sequencing has tested positive for the new variant of SARS-CoV-2. Yet we are well prepared to face the situation. Samples of those testing positive for Covid-19 are regularly being sent for genome sequencing,” Dr Mohanty added.

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