The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended the proposal by a Technical Expert Committee of the Union Ministry on the guidelines for Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres (NHCVC) for Elderly & Differently Abled Citizens. These recommendations have also been accepted by the Union Ministry of Health.
NHCVC for Elderly & Differently-abled citizens would follow a community-based, flexible and people-centric approach, bringing the COVID Vaccination Centres nearer to homes.
The Technical Expert Committee’s recommendations are aimed to ensure vaccination of Senior Citizens and Differently Abled population having limited mobility due to their physical condition. The recommendations are in response to the need to increase access by bringing vaccination services closer to the community while maintaining all necessary precautions and safety measures, as per the Operational Guidelines and Advisories issued from time to time.
These Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres will be organized specially for the below mentioned eligible population while vaccination for all other age groups will continue at the existing CVCs.
Eligible population for COVID-19 vaccination at NHCVC will include
- All individuals above 60 years age with no vaccination or first dose vaccination.
- All individuals below 60 years with disability due to physical or medical conditions.
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has communicated the detailed guidelines to all the States and UTs.
These guidelines include
- A community-based approach to be followed 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.
- Based on the cohort of eligible population, District Task Force (DTF) / Urban Task Force (UTF) will decide the location of NHCVC to maximize the reach of services to the target population, reduce vaccine wastage along with causing minimal impact on the existing health services.
- NHCVC will be linked to an existing CVC for vaccination purpose; the CVC in-charge will be responsible to provide vaccine, logistics and human resources required for vaccination.
- The site for NHCVC will be pre-identified in collaboration with community groups and RWAs. Such sites could be at Panchayat Bhawan, Sub-Health Centres and Health & Wellness Centres with availability of adequate space, Community Halls, RWA Premises, Polling Booths, Schools etc. and should to have a Vaccination Room and a Waiting Area with appropriate access for the target group, for example ramp for wheel chair access and Observation Room to ensure waiting for 30 minutes post vaccination as per MoHFW Operational Guidelines.
- Once identified and verified for meeting CVC criteria, all such sites will be registered on the CoWIN portal as NHCVC.
- DTF /UTF will be responsible for planning and implementation of vaccination at the NHCVC, with full flexibility to adjust the proposed plan as per local circumstances and need.
- Each team at NHCVC will comprise of five members – Team Leader (necessarily a Doctor), Vaccinator, Vaccination Officer 1 for Co-WIN registration and/or verification of beneficiary, and Vaccination Officer-2 and 3 for crowd control, assistance to vaccinator, ensuring 30 minutes observation of beneficiaries following vaccination for any AEFI and any other support.
- In a scenario where there is a group of target beneficiaries under one roof like Old Age Home etc., the NHCVC can be organized at that site as per the Operational Guidelines.
The guidelines also include details regarding:
- Registration & appointment of beneficiaries – either in advance, on-site or Facilitated Cohort Registration process on Co-WIN
- Line listing of Beneficiaries
- Identification of NHCVC Site and linkage with existing CVC
- Micro planning for vaccination sessions at NHCVC
- Facilitate travel of elderly and persons with special needs to Session Site wherever needed
- Making the Vaccination Center friendly to the elderly and persons with special needs
The Union Health Ministry has advised all States and UTs to direct the concerned officials to take note of these recommendations and undertake prompt necessary action for their detailed planning and effective implementation under the ongoing National COVID-19 Vaccination drive.