Centre asks states to give ‘ambitious’ push to free precaution dose drive that begins today
WITH THE 75-day free vaccination campaign for all adults set to begin from Friday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a meeting with the states and union territories urged them to give an “ambitious push” to increase the uptake of the third dose, organise vaccination camps on the routes of various religious yatras and melas, and organise camps in offices.
He said only 8% of the people aged between 18 and 59 and 27% of those aged above 60 have received their third precaution dose. In a letter to the states, he also highlighted that the uptake of Sputnik V precaution dose was even lower at 0.5%.
To increase the uptake of the Sputnik V precaution dose, the letter said, the states should ensure availability of the component 1 (Sputnik V uses two slightly different compositions for the first two doses) and functionality of the private vaccination centres. The private centres have been advised to reach out to people who have due Sputnik V doses. The letter also advises targeted communication with the beneficiaries of the Russian vaccine.
So far, India has administered 5.11 crore precaution doses, with the government still conducting the Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign.
In the meeting on Thursday, the states were advised to organise special vaccination camps on routes of Char Dham yatra (Uttarakhand), Amarnath yatra (Jammu and Kashmir), Kanwar yatra (all states and union territories in North India) along with other major melas and congregations.
Other than that, Bhushan also said camps may be organised in big office complexes, industrial establishments, railway stations, inter-state bus stations, and schools and colleges. “In all such special vaccination camps, vaccination to be done mandatorily through CoWIN and vaccination certificate to be provided,” the health ministry said in a release.
Bhushan asked the states to create “ambitious” district, block, and vaccination-centre wise plans to ensure all eligible population gets the precaution dose.
The states were also asked to ensure that Covid-19 vaccine doses are consumed in a timely manner at both government and private centres in order to prevent wastage of the “national resource”.
Two months after it opened the precaution dose to all adults at private vaccination centres, the central government on Wednesday announced that it will be made available for free at government centres for a period of 75 days starting July 15. The decision comes just days after the health ministry reduced the duration between the second dose and precaution dose from existing nine months to six months, increasing the number of people eligible for the precaution dose.