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After HC questions data, Tripura NHM director says vaccination figures accurate

Dr. Siddharth Singh Jaiswal said that he stood by the data provided earlier and 98 per cent of the people in the 45-plus age group had been vaccinated when it was reported in the media. This number, he said, has now further increased.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: July 12, 2021 1:11:47 am
TripuraThe government had earlier said that it had vaccinated 98 per cent of the 45-plus age group and 80 per cent of the eligible population have received their first doses. (File photo)

Two days after the Tripura High Court said that the state government’s vaccination figures are inaccurate, state National Health Mission Director Dr. Siddharth Singh Jaiswal said that he stood by the data provided earlier and 98 per cent of the people in the 45-plus age group had been vaccinated when it was reported in the media. This number, he said, has now further increased.

He, however, said that there has been a “slight variation” in the overall vaccination figures. He added that an affidavit with all the details will be submitted to the High Court on the next date of hearing.

The government had earlier said that 98 per cent of the people in the 45-plus age group and 80 per cent of the overall eligible population have received their first doses.

Hearing a suo motu case on the state’s pandemic preparations, a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Subhasish Talapatra Friday directed Jaiswal—who put out the numbers around a week ago—to issue a press statement with accurate vaccination figures.

Speaking to reporters here this evening, Jaiswal said the data provided by the government to the High Court in May, which fixed the target of vaccinating an eligible population of 12.36 lakh in the 45-plus category, was “correct as per knowledge available at that particular point of time”.

“The initial data provided to the High Court was based on arithmetic projections. Later, we did brainstorming on the target population involving Census reports, UIDAI data, etc. and settled upon a revised estimated target. This is a much more solid data and has been corroborated with the target set by the Centre,” the official said.

He also said as per the revised estimates based on the population projection for India and states issued by the Registrar General of India in 2006 and Aadhaar data, Tripura was projected to have 40.19 lakh people in March this year, out of which 13.95 lakh are minors. Among the rest, 16.3 lakh are estimated to be in 18-44 age group and 9.94 lakh in the 45-plus category.

He said that as per the revised estimates, which would be submitted to the High Court on the next date of hearing, Tripura had achieved 98 per cent vaccination in the 45-plus age group when news reports — which were later questioned by the HC — came out in the local media. He added that as per latest estimates, the vaccination coverage now stands at 100.28 per cent in the 45-plus age group (the number is over 100 per cent as it includes people from other states who got vaccinated in Tripura) and 55.88 per cent in the 18-44 age group.

However, the official admitted that there was a “slight variation” in the data on the overall vaccination figures. Jaiswal said that 70 per cent of the overall population had been vaccinated when news reports came out — this is contrary to claims that 80 per cent of the eligible population had been inoculated. But this number now has risen to 78.43 per cent, Jaiswal said.

No Delta Plus variant detected from samples sent to Bengal: PIB

Two days after the state Information and Cultural Affairs Department said that at least 138 out of the 151 Covid-19 samples sent by Tripura for genome sequencing have tested positive for the Delta Plus variant, the Press Information Bureau (PIB) released a statement on Sunday saying that the mutant strain has not been detected from the samples.

The PIB statement said, “152 samples were sent from Tripura to NIBMG Kalyani for Whole Genome Sequence (WGS). The random samples were of people tested RT-PCR positive between April and May 2021…There was no case of Delta Plus reported among the aforementioned lot of sequenced samples.”

State Health Surveillance Officer Dr. Deep Kumar Debbarma had also said at a press briefing that out of the 151 samples sent to a laboratory at Kalyani in West Bengal for the virological test, 138 had the Delta Plus strain in them. He had also asked people to follow government guidelines and stick to Covid-appropriate behaviour.

A senior official of the health department, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the confusion can be attributed to an erroneous explanation of the two Delta variants in a central government document. A clarification in this regard would be issued soon, the official said.

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