Health Minister asks States to achieve goal of 100 crore doses vaccination
New Delhi, October 9, 2021
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya, today exhorted all States to increase their target so that the administration of the last six crore doses for reaching the mark of 100 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine was achieved in the next few days.
Interacting with Principal Secretaries and Mission Directors (National Health Mission) of all major States, Mandaviya reviewed the progress of COVID-19 vaccination.
He underlined that the immediate milestone in India’s COVID-19 vaccination journey was the completion of the administration of 100 Crore doses. India has so far administered 94 crore vaccine doses.
Mandaviya noted that festivals are usually synonymous with auspiciousness, joy and large gatherings. However, if not conducted following COVID protocols these could derail COVID-19 containment efforts. “The two-pronged solution is to follow COVID protocols very strictly and speeding up vaccination,” he stated.
He cited results of studies that showed 96% of the first dose recipients not developing severe COVID-19. This goes up to nearly 98% for people who have taken both doses of the vaccine.
Observing that more than eight crore balance doses were physically available with the States, he asked about specific hurdles, if any, faced by the States in increasing the pace of vaccination. Several States were nearing saturation of coverage in urban areas and were also catering to the floating population.
Similarly, labour and time-intensive door-to-door vaccination was being undertaken in some geographically remote pockets where the first dose coverage was nearing saturation. States like Uttar Pradesh undertaking mass vaccination drives pointed out the comparatively limited supply of Covaxin and its shorter span between the doses as a rate inhibiting factor.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan urged all the State health administrators to be strict about the observance of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) during festivities to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. He underlined the need to adhere to the detailed SOP for States/ UTs which were conveyed in the Ministry’s letter on September 21.
These guidelines specify no mass gatherings to be allowed in areas identified as Containment Zones & in districts reporting more than 5% case positivity.
Gatherings were to be held with advance permissions and limited people (as per local context) to be allowed in districts with a positivity rate of 5% & below.
Relaxations and restrictions were to be imposed based on weekly case positivity. States should closely monitor the case trajectories across all districts daily to identify any early warning signals. They should ensure the imposition of restrictions and adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour accordingly.
People were to be strongly discouraged from physical visits and intermingling. Provision for “online darshan” and virtual celebrations should be encouraged.
All rituals like effigies burning, Durga Puja pandal, “Dandia”, “Garba” and “Chhatt Puja” should be symbolic.
There should be regulation of the number of people allowed to participate in gatherings/ processions and separate entry and exit points at places of worship. Use of common prayer mats, offering of “Prasad”, the sprinkling of holy water, etc. should be avoided.
The meeting also discussed prompt utilization of Emergency COVID Response Package (ECRP) II financial resources provided to the States.
Representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal took part in the meeting.