Indian Govt shares guidelines for accelerating vaccinations

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Ahead of the third phase vaccination, the Centre on Saturday shared guidelines with the States and Union Territories (UTs) for effective implementation of the new vaccination strategy from May 1. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Chairman, Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19, Dr R S Sharma, chaired a meeting to guide the States and UTs on the implementation of the new vaccination strategy.

They also reviewed the States and UTs’ plans to strengthen the existing hospital and clinical treatment infrastructure for Covid patients. Sharma pointed out that the CoWIN platform has now stabilized and is working at scale flawlessly. It is equipped to handle the complexities of the new phase of vaccination starting from May 1. He highlighted the importance of uploading correct and timely data by States/UTs as any incorrect data would compromise the integrity of the entire system.

With regard to the third phase vaccination strategy from May 1, the States and UTs were specifically advised to register additional private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) in mission mode by engaging with private hospitals, hospitals of industrial establishments, Industry Associations coordinating with designated appropriate authority, mechanism for applications or requests and their processing and monitoring of pendency of registration.

States and UTs were also advised to monitor the number of hospitals that have procured vaccines and have declared stocks and prices on CoWIN, schedule vaccination for the eligible population.

“Prioritize decisions regarding direct procurement of vaccines by the State or UT government,” the Centre advised.

Regarding infrastructure augmentation for effective clinical treatment of the hospitalized Covid patients, the States were advised to review their existing hospital and other Covid treatment infrastructure in light of the daily new cases, daily fatalities and those that would require hospitalization.

The States were advised to identify additional dedicated Covid hospitals and prepare field hospital facilities either through the DRDO, CSIR or similar agencies in the public and private sector. They were asked to ensure adequacy in terms of oxygen supported beds, ICU beds and oxygen supplies.

The States were also advised to maintain a real-time record for available beds and make it easily accessible to the general public, create guidelines and enable states to take over private health facilities to provide Covid care.

They were asked to expand designated Covid care facilities for isolation of asymptomatic and mild symptomatic patients so that all those who either cannot isolate at home and are willing for institutional isolation, have access to the requisite space and care.

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