Centre asks states to increase coverage of beneficiaries receiving COVID-19 vaccination

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) The Centre on Saturday asked states and Union Territories to augment coverage of beneficiaries receiving vaccination against COVID-19 and increase as well as optimize inoculation sessions per day.

The states and UTs have also been asked to start vaccinating frontline workers from the first week of February, the Union Health ministry said in a statement.

This was done during a review meeting chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

'While some states and UTs have more than 50 per cent coverage, they were all advised to improve the percentage coverage of vaccinated beneficiaries as there are many states and UTs that need to improve their performance on this parameter,' the statement said.

The health secretary pointed out that COVID-19 vaccine is available in sufficient quantity and technical glitches on CoWIN have now been resolved.

'States/UTs were advised to ensure that regular review meetings of the state, district and block task force were held to assess the emerging challenges, understand the ground issues and promptly address them at the appropriate levels,' it said.

It was pointed that there is a huge scope for improvement in the number of average vaccinations per session and the state health secretaries were asked to analyze the daily variation in the number of average vaccination and take the necessary steps to increase them.

The states and UTs were also asked to organize multiple simultaneous vaccination sessions per day in the health facility wherever possible.

'This would substantially boost the number of vaccinations per day. He (secretary) urged the District Immunisation Officers to interact with the nodal officer at the session sites on a regular basis to evaluate the scope of this enhancement,' the statement said.

Drawing attention to the recent letter of the Health Ministry, Bhushan pointed out that a provisional digital vaccination certificate after the first dose and final certificate after completing the second dose is required to be issued. 'States/UTs were asked to take the necessary steps to ensure that the vaccination certificates are issued to all vaccinated beneficiaries before they exit the session,' it said.

Bhushan reiterated that validation of eligibility and verification of identity of a beneficiary is of utmost importance to ensure that only genuine and duly authenticated beneficiaries are vaccinated as per the priority group identified. The importance of timely data reconciliation was also emphasized upon during the detailed review meeting. As the vaccination drive has substantially stabilized in the past two weeks, states/UTs were strongly urged to reconcile the arrear data on the CoWIN app,' it said.

'This shall duly ensure that all beneficiaries are accounted for as the exercise moves forward to its next phase,' the statement said.

The states and UT health authorities were advised to undertake the necessary planning for ensuring smooth implementation of this phase. PTI UZM TDS TDS