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Focus on accelerating second and precaution doses of covid-19 vaccination: Centr

Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, union ministry of health. htPremium
Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, union ministry of health. ht

  • Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary reviewed the status of covid situation through a video conference with 14 states that are reporting high number of cases on a week-to-week basis along with increased case positivity combined with low numbers of covid tests and below average covid vaccination

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Amid the surge of covid cases in some parts of the country, the Centre on Tuesday has directed States and UTs to focus on accelerating second and precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccination.

Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary reviewed the status of COVID situation through a video conference (VC) with 14 such States that are reporting high number of cases on a week-to-week basis along with increased case positivity combined with low numbers of COVID tests and below average COVID vaccination.

He advised caution and continuous alertness to States reporting a surge in COVID cases during the past few weeks, and to step up vigil against COVID.

The four-fold strategy highlights surveillance of incoming inter-national travelers; community-based surveillance; sentinel site surveillance (health facility-based surveillance and lab-based surveillance); and Whole Genome Sequencing.

States were advised to scan for and report all SARI and ILI cases from all district hospitals, major private hospitals and medical colleges across the districts, and keep a close watch on those geographies where these clusters are emerging.

“States were also strongly advised to strictly monitor epidemiological profile of admitted COVID patients and report the clinical manifestation to Health Ministry, rather than a random or anecdotal reporting. This will help to identify at an early stage any out-of-the-ordinary or different clinical presentation of the patients," the ministry said in the statement.

“Noting that the uptake in second and precaution doses in many states reporting the present surge was low, they were advised to rapidly accelerate the vaccination coverage especially elderly above 60 years of age, and second dose among 12-17 population group. It was pointed out that the ongoing Har Ghar Dastak2.0 drive needed a strong push to ramp up COVID vaccine uptake," the ministry said.

Underscoring that there was no shortage of COVID vaccines, States were advised to ensure that vaccines that expire first are administered first preventing any wastage of the precious national resource.

Dr Paul and Union Health Secretary both highlighted the low level of COVID testing across the states, and the drop in RTPCR share.

“States were advised to focus on strategic testing of patients coming to fever clinics, SARI and ILI patients, along with new clusters and geographies in all districts reporting higher positivity. In addition, States were reminded to undertake Whole Genome Sequencing through the mapped labs of INSACOG network as per the revised surveillance strategy of union health ministry," said the ministry.

Health Secretary urged States to ensure that claims under ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19‘ were expeditiously processed to ensure that insurance dues are paid to those public healthcare providers, including community health workers, who have died due to Covid.

States were advised to focus on implementation of covid appropriate behavior to control the spread of infection, especially in view of the forthcoming festivals in many states.

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