Centre issues Guidelines for Effective Implementation of New Vaccination Strategy from May 1

The Centre’s Empowered Group to Combat COVID today issued guidelines for States and Union Territories for effective implementation of New Vaccination Strategy from May 1 onwards. The Group suggested the states and UTs to register additional private COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) in mission mode by engaging with private hospitals, hospitals of industrial establishments, Industry Associations, and coordinate with designated appropriate authority, mechanism for applications/requests and their processing and monitoring of pendency of registration.

Meanwhile, 3,46,786 new cases were registered in the last 24 hours. Ten States including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka,Kerala,Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan report 74.15% of the new cases. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 66,836. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 36,605 while Kerala reported 28,447 new cases. Nearly 2.1 lakh people also recovered in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of COVID19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 13.83 Cr today as part of the world’s largest vaccination drive.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and R S Sharma, Chairman, Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19 chaired a high-level meeting to guide the States/UTs on effective implementation of the New Vaccination Strategy (Phase-3) and to review their augmentation plans so as to strengthen the existing hospital and clinical treatment infrastructure for COVID patients.  

Sharma noted 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 1st May. 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 regards to the Phase III Vaccination strategy from 1st May 2021, the States were specifically advised to monitor number of hospitals that have procured vaccines and have declared stocks and prices on COWIN. Strategies also include scheduling Vaccination for eligible population for providing adequate visibility of vaccination slots on COWIN. It was recommended that there is need to prioritize decision regarding direct procurement of vaccines by State/UT Government and publicize about facility of ‘only online registration’ for age groups 18-45 year.

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

The states were also advised to ensure adequacy in terms of oxygen supported beds, ICU beds and oxygen supplies.  Setting up centralized call center-based services for allocation of beds and deploy of requisite Human Resources with proper Training & mentoring of doctors and nurses for management of patients and Strengthening ambulance services were also suggested.

The State/UTs were guided to co-ordinate with Corporate entities/PSUs/Government Departments for their CSR funds to facilitate setting up makeshift hospitals and temporary COVID care facilities. Cooperation with National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for repurposing healthcare facilities (spread across 18 regional offices) for creation of COVID facilities was also advised. They were also advised to use Railway Coaches for management of mild cases; details of availability of 3,816 such coaches, across 16 Zones of Railways have been shared with the States.