As part of its commitment to pro-actively guide, review and monitor the COVID-19 vaccination drive in collaboration with States/UTs, Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) today held a review meeting through video conferencing with administrators from States and UTs on the progress of vaccination in States.
This comes in the backdrop of more flexibilities given to States to enhance the pace of vaccination,and increased vaccine supplies for June 2021 shared with the States and UTs through the advance vaccine visibility calendar. This meeting was chaired by Union Health Secretary Shri Rajesh Bhushan.
At the outset UnionHealth Secretary appreciated the collective efforts of States and UTS to increase the pace of vaccination in last week of May 2021as most of the vaccine supply of the current month reached the states towards the end. He also pointed out there is a substantial scope to accelerate the pace of vaccination even further.
The total availability of vaccines is going to increase further in June 2021 (as already shared with them through the Vaccine Visibility Calendar). Nearly 12 crores (11,95,70,000) doses will be available to States and UTs in June 2021 enabling them to ramp up the vaccination numbers.
The Health Secretary also assured that the Central Government will provide the states and UTs with the available buffer stock to urgently replenish their depleting stocks so that the vaccination drive carries on with a steady pace.
The vaccination exercise as a tool to protect the most vulnerable population groups in the country from COVID-19 continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level. The Secretary noted that a graded, pre-emptive and pro-active approach has allowed for the exercise to be modified to suit present circumstances in wide consultation with all the stakeholders which has resulted in more flexibility to the States and UTs regarding the vaccination program.
With a focus on community-based outreach approach where sessions can be conducted in non-health facility based settings and are nearer to home(e.g. in a community centre, RWA centre/office, panchayat ghar, school buildings, old age homes etc.)for elderly & differently-abled population, an advisory for Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres (NHCVCs) for Elderly and Differently Abled Citizens has been shared with States and UTs [Guidelines are available on MoHFW website.
States/UTs were urged to increase the number of near-to-home vaccination centres, and create awareness among the masses for use of these CVCs.
The process of identification of NHCVC Site and linkage with existing CVC was reiterated. States/UTs are to identify and designate an existing COVID Vaccination Center (CVC) to undertake vaccination at NHCVC.
Nodal Officer of designated CVC will review the proposed NHCVCs for essential criteria viz. availability of 3 rooms/space for vaccination, accessibility for senior citizens/ special need, feasibility of managing AEFIs and availability of internet etc. Nodal Officer In charge of designated CVC is required to ensure vaccine, logistics and vaccination team deployment on the day of vaccination.
States/UTs were also exhorted to proactively increase engagement with private hospitals on COVID vaccinations. States/UTs were advised to constitute a 2/3-member dedicated team to regularly coordinate with vaccine manufacturers and private hospitals for timely supplies of vaccine.
It was again pointed to States and UTs to make focused efforts to drastically reduce wastage of COVID Vaccinewhich is a public health commodity through optimalVaccineutilization.While the overall levels have considerably reduced, Union Health Secretary pointed that there were many states which still needed to substantially reduce the wastage. It was suggested to States/UTs to retrain and reorient vaccinators to ensure judicious usage of the vaccines.