Centres asks states to prepare plans for expediting second-dose coverage among healthcare workers

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI) Terming the low Covid vaccination coverage among the healthcare and frontline workers, especially for the second dose, a cause of 'serious concern', the Centre advised the states and Union territories on Thursday to sharpen their focus and prepare effective plans for expediting the second dose coverage among these priority groups.

At a high-level meeting chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan with the states to review the progress of vaccination, it was highlighted that while the national average for the first dose administration among the healthcare workers (HCWs) is 82 per cent, for the second dose, it is only 56 per cent, a statement issued by the health ministry said.

Further, the coverage in 18 states and Union territories, including Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Assam, is below the national average in this aspect.

For the frontline workers (FLWs), the national average of first-dose coverage is 85 per cent but for the second dose, it is only 47 per cent, the statement said.

Nineteen states and Union territories, including Bihar, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Telangana, Karnataka and Punjab, have reported a second-dose coverage of FLWs below the national average, it added.

The Union health secretary reiterated that universal coverage and full protection amongst this group is crucial to protect the healthcare response to the pandemic and a timely completion of the vaccination schedule is important for conferring full protection to the beneficiaries. The states were asked to sharpen their focus and prepare effective plans for expediting the second dose administration for the HCWs and FLWs, the statement said.

The states were also asked to dedicate special time slots or sessions for the exercise, it added.

Bhushan highlighted the less than adequate private sector participation in the Covid vaccination drive.

According to the revised guidelines, 25 per cent of the vaccine stock can be procured by the private hospitals, which can set up Covid vaccination centres (CVCs) for supplementing the government's efforts in further universalisation of the vaccination drive.

The limited presence of private hospitals and their unequal spread were highlighted for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam etc., the statement said.

The states were alerted to the new features on the Co-WIN portal, which were incorporated in light of the new vaccination guidelines.

They were informed that rectifications can be done in the personal information (name, year of birth, gender and photo ID number of the card used) by the citizens, requesting changes only in any of the two fields of the four mentioned. These changes are allowed only once.

Once updated, the old certificate will be deleted and it will not be possible to reverse the changes.

Change in vaccine type, date of vaccination, vaccination events not recorded on Co-WIN can be made with the help of the district immunisation officers (DIOs).

These changes cannot be done by the users themselves, but they will have to request the DIOs, the statement said.

A feature to tag the existing CVCs as urban and rural is also being provided.

The states were informed of the vaccine utilisation feature. The DIOs are allowed to edit or update the vaccine utilisation reports (VURs) submitted by the vaccinators and make corrections, if needed.

The states were asked to thoroughly train the vaccinators and DIOs to prevent data-entry errors.

They were informed that the CoWIN platform is now available in 12 languages. The platform is equipped to register the UDID unique disability ID card as well. It was also pointed out that accounts now can be blocked for 24 hours if more than 1,000 searches are done in 50 log-in sessions of 15 minutes each.

The states can offer walk-in registrations for the 45-plus age group if the on-site capacity is greater than zero, the statement said.

Walk-in sessions for the 18-44 age group can also be organised if the 'onsite-dose 2' capacity is greater than zero. The states were advised to widely publicise about this at the CVCs, the statement said. PTI PLB RC