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India to have 216 cr vax doses by August with more vaccines slated for approval

It was reiterated that States need to focus on reduction of vaccine wastage as that will be factored in subsequent allocations to that State. (Reuters)Premium
It was reiterated that States need to focus on reduction of vaccine wastage as that will be factored in subsequent allocations to that State. (Reuters)

The central government has advised the States to ensure complete utilization of available vaccination slots for 45+ age-group, healthcare workers and frontline workers with awareness campaigns for conveying the importance of completing the second dose of vaccine

New Delhi: With Serum Institute of India’s - Novavax vaccine, Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine, a new vaccine of Zydus Cadila and the Genova mRNA vaccine slated for approval, India will have over 216 Crores doses of covid-19 vaccines available in the August-December period, the government said on Saturday.

“Meanwhile, we will have 51.6 Crore vaccine doses by the end of July including the 18 Crores doses already administered. Sputnik has been approved," said union health minister Harsh Vardhan said.

Taking note of the fact that all States require more vaccines to expand their vaccine coverage, Harsh Vardhan during a review meeting said that 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/UTs.

The central government has advised the States to ensure complete utilization of available vaccination slots for 45+ age-group, healthcare workers and 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 2/3-member team at State level on the lines of the dedicated team at Union 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 Union Health Ministry has already shared the list of Private Hospital along with doses contracted and supplied with State/UTs.

Harsh Vardhan on Saturday virtually interacted with State Health Ministers and Principal Secretaries and Additional Chief Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat states.

These states/UT are depicting a higher growth rate in the number of daily cases, rise in positivity, high mortality and saturation of healthcare capacity.

The Union Health Minister highlighted the critical challenges faced by the States: Gujarat has displayed a gradual increase in the positivity since April; the recovery rate stands at 79%, lower than the national average; near 100% ICU beds in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Mehsana and 97% and 96% of oxygenated beds in Ahmedabad and Vadodara stood occupied indicating saturation.

Andhra Pradesh has had an increasing positivity rate since early April 2021; the weekly growth rate was as high as 30.3%; Chittoor, East Godavari, Guntur, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam were flagged as districts of concern.

Uttar Pradesh saw an exponential growth in cases in a six-week period (5,500 to 31,000 cases and 2% to 14% positivity); Lucknow and Meerut have more than 14,000 active cases with all categories of bed showing more than 90% occupancy.

In Madhya Pradesh, 10 districts have more than 20% positivity with over 1 lakh active cases all over the State; Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior and Jabalpur were flagged as districts of concern. Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat were cautioned for having a high proportion of deaths in the age group 18-45 years.

“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," said Harsh Vardhan.

State Health administrators were advised to increase ICU and oxygenated beds, undertake oxygen audits, take stock of availability of medicines in the State and strengthen their medical workforce.

During the meeting, Dr Sujeet K. Singh, Director at national centre for disease control (NCDC) presented the epidemiological findings and a granular analysis of the covid-19 trajectory in the States. He suggested continuing focus on the health infrastructure in small cities as people from nearby towns and villages would rush there in case of surge.

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