New Delhi: Asserting that the pandemic is not over yet, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday said it is important at this time to be alert and not forget Covid-appropriate behaviour such as “wearing masks and maintaining physical distance to prevent spread of the infection”.
Mandaviya’s remarks came as he chaired a meeting through video conference with the health ministers and senior officials of the states and Union Territories to review the progress of vaccination exercise ‘Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign’.
The Union Health Minister highlighted increased case positivity in some districts and states and reduced Covid-19 testing.
He said that increased and timely testing will enable early identification of cases and help curb the infection’s spread in the community.
Mandaviya said the five-fold strategy of test, track, treat, vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour needs to be continued and monitored by the states and union territories.
The states, as per the statement issued by the Health Ministry, were also urged to focus on implementing the Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy for Covid-19 which focuses on surveillance of incoming international travellers and surveillance through health facilities, labs, community etc.
Stressing on importance of Covid-19 vaccination among the vulnerable age groups, Mandaviya urged the state health ministers to personally review the status and progress of the special month-long drive — Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign — which began on June 1.
“Let us accelerate our efforts to identify all beneficiaries in the 12-17 age group for the first and second doses, so they can attend schools with the protection of the vaccine,” he said.
Mandaviya urged states for focused coverage of the 12-17 age group through school-based campaigns, along with targeted coverage of non-school going children during the summer vacation.
He added that the population group of above 60 years of age is a vulnerable category and needs to be protected with the precaution dose.
“Our healthcare workers are going from door-to-door to ensure that the vulnerable population is administered the precaution dose,” Mandaviya said.
The health ministers of the states were also urged to review the administration of precaution dose to the 18-59 age group with the private hospitals on a regular basis.
“We can utilise the learning from the first Har Ghar Dastak campaign to aim for achieving 100 per cent coverage among eligible population for ensuring extended protection against Covid-19,” Mandaviya said.
“Adequate vaccine doses are available across the country. Let us ensure accelerated coverage of Covid vaccination during the second phase of Har Ghar Dastak campaign,” he stressed.
The states were also strongly advised to ensure there is no wastage of Covid-19 vaccines at any cost.
Mandaviya said this must be ensured through active monitoring and on basis of “first expiry, first out” principle, where doses that expire earlier should be used for vaccination first.
State health ministers Sapam Ranjan Singh (Manipur), Alo Libang (Arunachal Pradesh), Thanneeru Harish Rao (Telangana), Anil Vij (Haryana), Rushikesh Ganeshbhai Patel (Gujarat), Banna Gupta (Jharkhand), Mangal Pandey (Bihar), Rajesh Tope (Maharashtra), Prabhuram Choudhary (Madhya Pradesh) and K Sudhakar (Karnataka) were among those present in the meeting.
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