ASSAM: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said the Centre has asked for vaccination of those over 17 years against COVID-19 in the state and sought the people's cooperation for it.
He also stressed on the need to ensure that people take both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and be on the alert so that the incidence of the disease does not increase again.
Addressing a by-poll campaign rally here, Sarma said "A new directive has come from New Delhi that all those who are above 17 years of age can now take the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I urge you to ensure that all our boys and girls between 17 to 18 years take the vaccine now," he said at a by-poll campaign rally here.
Currently three vaccines Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V which are being administered in the country are for those above 18 years of age.
All of them are two-dose vaccines.
Zydus Cadila's indigenously developed needle-free COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D has received emergency use approval (EUA) for those in the age group of 12-18 years in the country.
Sarma said incidence of the disease had declined from November 2020 to February 2021 but increased again from April 2021.
"To ensure that such a situation does not repeat itself we have to take both the vaccine doses," Sarma added.
Stressing on his point, the chief minister said "Elections will come and go, but people have to survive, do business, carry on with their education. We have to be alert so that the COVID situation does not deteriorate again," he said.
Dismissing speculations of possible lockdown again in the state, Sarma said, "We (Assam government) don't want a lockdown and we won't impose it. But we have to ensure that the people are fully vaccinated."
Sarma, who was campaigning for BJP candidate from Mariani, Rupjyoti Kurmi, harped on the developmental activities initiated by the state government since he assumed office in May this year.
In this context he mentioned the government's war on drugs, measures to curb corruption in the administration, besides the increase in the digitalisation of government work.
He also elaborated on different welfare schemes undertaken by the government.
Kurmi had won the Mariani seat for the last four terms as a Congress candidate, including in the state poll held in March-April this year.
But he had quit the party as well as the membership of the Assembly and joined the ruling BJP.
The saffron party has fielded him for he by-poll from the constituency.
Besides Mariani, by-election is scheduled in Gossaigaon, Tamulpur, Bhabanipur and Thowra Assembly constituencies on October 31.
The counting of votes is slated for November 2.