Festivals are not being celebrated in accordance with protocols, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya warned on Saturday, exhorting 19 states to speed up their immunisation efforts so that India can administer 100 crore vaccine doses in the next few days. Over 94 crore Covid vaccine doses have been administered in India to date.
Mandaviya emphasised that administering 100 crore doses of Covid vaccine is the immediate milestone in India’s inoculation journey while reviewing the progress of Covid-19 vaccination with principal secretaries and mission directors of the National Health Mission from all major states.
According to a Health Ministry statement, Mandaviya noted that if festivals, synonymous with auspiciousness, joy and large gatherings, are not observed as per Covid protocols, containment of Covid-19 can get derailed.
“The two-pronged solution is to follow Covid protocols very strictly and to speed up vaccination,” the minister said.
He cited results of experiments that pegged the number of first dose recipients not developing severe Covid-19 to be 96 per cent and further pointed out that the number increases to nearly 98 per cent for people who have taken both doses of the vaccine.
Officials of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal took part in the meeting.
Observing that over eight crore balance vaccine doses are physically available with states, Mandaviya enquired about specific hurdles, if any, faced by them in increasing their pace of vaccination and vaccine coverage among the target population, the statement said.
Many states are nearing saturation of coverage in urban areas and are catering to the floating population in the city, it said.
Labour and time-intensive door-to-door vaccination is being undertaken in some geographically aloof pockets where first dose coverage is nearing saturation. Uttar Pradesh state that comparatively limited supply of Covaxin and its shorter span between the doses as a rate inhibiting factor, according to the statement.
“In consultation with the states, the minister exhorted each state to increase their target so that the administration of the last six crore doses for reaching the mark of 100 crore is achieved in the next few days,” the health ministry stated.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan urged all the state health administrators to be strict with observance of Covid-appropriate behaviour during festivities to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.