Health department staff at the world’s highest village of Komic in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district, where vaccination is on full swing. (HT Photo)
Health department staff at the world’s highest village of Komic in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district, where vaccination is on full swing. (HT Photo)

World’s highest motorable village Komic achieves 100% Covid vaccination

13 panchayats in high-altitude tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti’s Kaza have shown the way on inoculation drive as residents are aware of the limited health infrastructure in the block
UPDATED ON MAY 20, 2021 10:17 PM IST

The world’s highest motorable village of Komic in the remote Spiti valley of Himachal’s tribal Lahaul and Spiti district has achieved 100% vaccination against Covid-19 for residents above the age of 44 years.

Situated at 15,500 feet, the villagers rarely leave their houses and adhere strictly to the guidelines by the state government to protect themselves against Covid-19. “If we walk out of our houses, it’s only for farming. The older generation stays home with the children,” says local resident Palzor, 37.

Villagers have been keen to get vaccinated and a majority took their doses ahead of the second lethal wave. “We are happy that the villagers have taken their second dose, too,” says Kaza block medical officer Tenzin Norbu.

Also read: India logs 276,110 Covid-19 cases in a single-day; fatalities below 4,000

A health department team, comprising vaccinator Prem Singh, verifier Kulwant Singh and ASHA worker Padma, have been visiting the high-altitude villages in Langza panchayat to vaccinate the residents. Besides Langza, the panchayat comprises Komic, which has the highest motorable road, and Hikkim at 14,400 ft with the highest post office in the world.

In the 60-plus age group, 101 people have been vaccinated,while 150 villagers have got both doses in the 44-60 age group. Langza panchayat has a total population of 330.

The Covid-19 vaccination centre at Komic village in Kaza block of Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. (HT Photo)
The Covid-19 vaccination centre at Komic village in Kaza block of Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. (HT Photo)

Climbing over connectivity challenges

“After seniors, now youngsters are enthusiastic about getting vaccinated. The challenge in this area is limited internet connectivity so it becomes difficult for them to log on to the Co-Win portal to get registered,” says Padma, the accredited social health activist (ASHA).

Kaza additional district magistrate Gian Sagar Negi says the state government was requested to allow offline registration for vaccination. Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur has now allowed it due to lack of internet facility. “Now 80% of the registration for vaccination is being done offline. Booking is done by calling up the health department and the slot is allotted based on lottery. 20% of the registration are still being done online but everyone has to first register for vaccination,” Lahaul and Spiti deputy commissioner Pankaj Rai says.

A resident of Komic village in Kaza block of Lahaul and Spiti district being vaccinated. (HT Photo)
A resident of Komic village in Kaza block of Lahaul and Spiti district being vaccinated. (HT Photo)

Tough terrain, climate no deterrent

Despite its tough terrain and the valley receiving heavy snowfall at regular intervals, the Kaza block, comprising 13 panchayats, has taken the lead on vaccination.

“People have no hesitancy in getting inoculated as they know that the health infrastructure in the region is limited. Everyone here wants to be protected from the virus,” says Padma.

The health authorities at Kaza have been able to vaccinate 89% of the healthcare workers. Of the total 174 healthcare workers, 154 have got both doses.

As many as 743 of the 914 people aged above 60 years have got the first dose of the vaccine, which is 82% of the total number, while 722 (79%) have been given the second dose as well.

In the 45-59 age group, the Kaza health block has achieved 95% of the target by administering the first dose to 1,490 of the 1,578 residents.

Ninety-six frontline workers have been given the first dose and 105 the second dose in Kaza. Among the vaccinated, 16 people had comorbidities.

Till date, a total of 2,499 people have been administered the first dose and 997 the second dose in the valley.

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