He was reviewing the public health response to COVID-19 and progress of vaccination in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan recently said that India will have 51.6 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses by July end, including the 18 crore doses already administered.
Detailing the ramping up of vaccine production, he said, “We will have 51.6 crore vaccine doses by the end of July, including the 18 crore doses already administered. Sputnik has been approved. This, along with the slated approval of the new vaccine of Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute of India- Novavax vaccine, Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine and the Genova mRNA vaccine will push the availability of COVID vaccines to 216 crore doses in the August-December period.”
He was reviewing the public health response to COVID-19 and progress of vaccination in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
These states are depicting a higher growth rate in the number of daily cases, rise in positivity, high mortality and saturation of healthcare capacity.
The minister also highlighted the critical challenges faced by the states.
Dr Vardhan expressed a strong view that the present plateauing of COVID cases should not be taken as a sign for complacency but as a breathing space to expand, revamp and improve health infrastructure.
Further, state health administrators were advised to increase ICU and oxygenated beds, undertake oxygen audits, take stock of the availability of medicines in the state and strengthen their medical workforce.
A common point of consensus among the state health ministers was that vaccines had resulted in milder forms of COVID, thereby preventing the loss of precious lives.
Taking note of the fact that all the states require more vaccines to expand their vaccine coverage, Dr Vardhan said, “Production is being steadily ramped up to cater to increased demand while vaccines that are being produced now continue to be equitably apportioned and swiftly sent to states and Union Territories (UTs).”
States were advised to ensure complete utilisation of available vaccination slots for 45+ age-group, healthcare workers, frontline workers with awareness campaigns for conveying the importance of completing the second dose of vaccine.
It was reiterated that states need to focus on reduction of vaccine wastage as that will be factored in subsequent allocations to that state.
States were advised to constitute a two/three-member team at state level on the lines of the dedicated team at health ministry to regularly coordinate with manufacturers for timely supplies of vaccine through ‘other than government of India channel’ and also to coordinate with private hospitals for their procurement.
The health ministry has already shared the list of private hospitals along with doses contracted and supplied with states and UTs.
(Edits by EH Bureau)