Centre reviews COVID preparations for April

The Samikhsya Bureau

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare made a review of the COVID management being undertaken across the country today.

Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary and Dr R S Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority (NHA) and Chairperson, Empowered Group on COVID Vaccination chaired a high-level meeting through video conference with Health Secretaries, State Mission Directors of NHM and State Immunization officers of all States and UTs.

The review was on the status, pace and issues regarding COVID vaccination across the country as well as the preparations for April 2021 when vaccination  would be extended to all persons above the age of 45.

A key theme underlying the meet was the identification of low vaccine coverage pockets particularly in districts showing COVID surge and for taking corrective actions there.

States and UTs were advised regarding the vaccination coverage of Health Care Workers (HCW)s & Front Line Workers (FLW)s. These included ensure that only eligible beneficiaries are registered and vaccinated under category of HCW and FLW, archive incorrect/duplicate entries on CoWIN platform, identify pockets of low vaccination coverage – health facility/professional association/blocks, districts for taking corrective action.

Regarding the involvement of Private COVID Vaccination Centres (CVC)s, the States/UTs were asked to conduct regular reviews of vaccinations at Private CVCs with respect to their capacity utilization; undertake GIS analysis of CVCs to identify need for additional CVCs within States/UTs; address apprehensions of Private CVCs regarding vaccine supply, guidelines etc proactively.

On the issue of Vaccine Stocks, the States and UTs were advised to ensure that there is no sedimentation of vaccine stocks at any level of storage; distribution based on consumption to avoid overstocking as well as under-stocking at Cold Chain Points and CVCs; regular review of vaccine stocks and consumption is undertaken to identify gap areas and address the same.

The Centre also advised the States and UTs to maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1% (present National Wastage Percentage being 6%); regularly review vaccine wastage across all levels to minimize the same; ensure timely utilization of available stocks to avoid expiry of vaccines without usage and timely updating of data of vaccine consumption to be ensured on CoWIN & eVIN portals.

Sharma assured that there is no problem in the storage and logistics of vaccines. He re-emphasized the point that there is no value in conserving vaccines for the second dose and that States must promptly supply vaccines to all government and private hospitals where there is a demand.