Northeast states aim to incentivise Covid vaccination

Northeast states aim to incentivise Covid-19 vaccination

Taking a cue from other states introducing a carrot and stick approach towards vaccination, the Northeast is offering a range of rewards

A vial of the Covishield vaccine. Credit: AFP Photo

Being non-vaccinated could mean trouble in the Northeast since the status of one’s vaccination has been linked with opening of shops and business, operating passenger vehicles and even salaries of government employees in some cases.

However, incentives are being announced in order to encourage people to get vaccinated, according to a report by The Hindu.

Taking a cue from other states introducing a carrot and stick approach towards vaccination, the Northeast is offering a range of rewards from free rice to cash to combat vaccine hesitancy.

Read more: 17 states vaccinate at least 25% of population against Covid-19

Tackling misinformation, often circulated via Whatsapp and social media channels, is a mammoth task in India, and rumours such as the vaccine causing infertility or altering genes has made things even more difficult.

The Meghalaya High Court stepped in on June 23 and ordered all shops, commercial establishments, taxi, auto-rickshaw and bus operators to provide their vaccination status in order to function.

However, the Court has maintained that the order should be regarded as ‘persuasion’ to achieve the greater good rather than ‘coercion’, according to the report.

All establishments would be required to display their status – whether ‘vaccinated’ or ‘non vaccinated’ – to their customers.

“In the event, any shops, establishments, local taxis, auto-rickshaws, maxi cabs and buses flout the above directions, the authority concerned of the state shall immediately direct its closure, stoppage of plying,” the court stated.

The court came down heavily on those spreading misinformation about vaccination, instructing authorities to take in immediate legal action against the miscreant.

The Assam government was quick to follow suit, asking all heads of departments to find out the jab-status of ‘frontline employees’ before releasing their salary.

The instructions followed a report received by Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua stating that there were many non-vaccinated frontline government workers.

“Non-vaccination of such frontline government servants may give rise to the possibility of further spread of the virus, which in turn may endanger the lives of common citizens, especially the vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, etc.”, said the order, according to the publication.

“Direct all department heads to ascertain the vaccination status of such government servants before releasing the monthly salary/remuneration from the current month (June) onwards”.

The order was directed at those belonging to departments such as the police force, healthcare, and disaster management, among others.

Assam is expected to witness easing of restrictions from July 1 onwards, and the state government had previously said that all of its staff could resume duty from June 14 if they had been fully vaccinated with both doses.

From free livestock in villages to offers at big brands in a Gurugram mall for those getting the jab, India is doing its innovative best to inoculate people.

Asian countries have largely been dealing with vaccine hesitancy and countries like Thailand and Indonesia too have come up with attractive offers such as free cows or houses for those taking the jab.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox