Health Minister Mandaviya urges states to step up vaccination pace
NEW DELHI: Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health, interacted on Saturday with key secretaries and National Health Missions from all major states and reviewed the progress of the covid vaccination campaign. 19.
He said the immediate step in India’s vaccination journey against Covid-19 is the completion of the administration of 100 crore doses. India has so far administered 94 crore doses.
Mandaviya noted that festivals, which are usually synonymous with auspiciousness, joy and large gatherings, if not organized in accordance with COVID protocols can derail the containment of the pandemic.
“The two-pronged solution is to follow COVID protocols very strictly and speed up the vaccination,” the Minister of Health said, citing the results of experiments which fixed the number of recipients of the first dose not developing 96% severe covid-19, reaching almost 98% for those who took both doses of the vaccine.
Observing that more than 8 crore of doses remain available with states, he inquired about the obstacles, if any, they face in accelerating the pace of immunization among the target population.
States such as Uttar Pradesh, which have undertaken mass vaccination campaigns, have pointed to the relatively limited supply of Covaxin and its shorter interval between doses as an inhibitory factor.
The minister urged states to increase the pace of vaccine administration.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has urged state health administrators to be strict about adhering to appropriate COVID behavior during the festivities to avoid an increase in cases.
The central guidelines that have been released so far recommend banning mass gatherings in areas identified as containment zones and in districts reporting more than 5% positive cases.
The Center advised gatherings with prior permissions and limited people (depending on the local context) to be allowed in districts with a positivity rate of 5% and below. The relaxations and restrictions will be reviewed based on the weekly positivity of the cases.
“People are strongly advised against physical visits and brewing. Arrangements for “online darshans” and virtual celebrations to be encouraged. All rituals like the burning of effigies, the pandal Durga Puja, “dandia”, “garbas” and “Chhatt Puja” should be symbolic. Regulation of the number of people allowed to participate in gatherings / processions. Separate entry and exit points in places of worship and use of common prayer rugs, offering of “prasad”, sprinkling with holy water, etc. to be avoided, ”the center said.
The meeting also discussed the swift use of the COVID Emergency Response Package (ECRP) II financial resources provided to states.
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