Health Ministry calls upon states to prioritize second dose of COVID-19


New Delhi: The Health Ministry has urged states to ensure all beneficiaries who have taken the first dose of COVID-19 are prioritised for the second dose.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Dr R S Sharma, Member, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 reviewed the status of vaccination with health secretaries and National Health Mission MDs of states and UTs through a video conference today.

“States to ensure all beneficiaries who have taken the first dose are prioritised for the second doses,” Bhushan said.
He stressed urgent need to address large number of beneficiaries waiting for the second dose.

A Health Ministry release said states can reserve at least 70 per cent of the vaccines supplied to them from the Government of India channel (free of cost) for second dose vaccination and remaining 30 per cent for first dose.

“This however is indicative. States have the liberty to enhance this to as much as 100 per cent. State wise numbers on CoWIN have been shared with states for their planning purposes,” the release said.

It said that the states were asked to undertake awareness campaign for reinforcing importance of complete vaccination with two doses of the vaccine.

Presenting details of states who have ensured high coverage of priority groups (like aged 45+, frontline workers and healthcare workers) and the others, the Health Secretary urged states to ensure that priority groups are vaccinated.
The release said states have been informed in a transparent manner in advance about the COVID vaccines being provided to them from Government of India channel.

“The visibility for the forthcoming fortnight is conveyed to them in advance to enable better and more effective planning by them. The next allocation for May 15-31 will be conveyed to them on May 14. It was pointed out that states can utilize the information regarding dose allocation for next 15 days to plan their vaccination sessions,” the release said.

States were also urged to minimise vaccine wastage.

“While the overall levels have considerably reduced, Union Health Secretary pointed that there were many states which still needed to substantially reduce the wastage,” the release said.

It was suggested to states to retrain and reorient vaccinators to ensure judicious usage of the vaccines.

“All wastage more than the national average hereafter is to be adjusted from the subsequent allocations to that state/UT,” the release said.
It was also pointed out that certain states are able to report a negative wastage because the well-trained health workers can extract maximum doses per vial than what is otherwise generally earmarked.
States were also briefed about procurement from the ‘Other than Government of India’ (OGoI) channel which has been opened in the Liberalised Phase-III Strategy of Vaccination.

In view of the payments pending from states to the private vaccine manufacturers, the states were advised to constitute a dedicated team of two or three senior officers to coordinate with vaccine manufacturers on a daily basis and secure supplies promptly. “This team is to also coordinate with private hospitals to facilitate their procurement thereby maintaining the momentum of the overall vaccination exercise in the state,” the release said.

The release said CoWIN platform is also being modified to better reflect the changing needs of the vaccination exercise.

Sharma, who is also Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19, said that CoWIN will shortly provide the flexibility and feature for reserving slots for second dose.

CoWIN will be customised to the extent possible and will also open APIs. The need for IEC campaign for informing people that they should use only one mobile number for both doses for its reflection in their certificate was stressed, the release said.

Sharma reiterated the critical importance of verity and authenticity of data. He also urged states to avoid use of restrictive criteria to uphold the mantra of CoWIN providing vaccination to anyone, anywhere and at anytime. (ANI)