New Delhi: Days ahead of India’s third mass phase of Covid-19 vaccination to cover all above 18, starting from May 1, the Centre on Saturday issued guidelines for states and Union territories on the “effective implementation of the New Vaccination Strategy” as the country grapples with horrors of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Dr RS Sharma, the chairperson of the empowered group on technology and data management to combat Covid-19, chaired a high-level meeting to guide the states and Union territories and to review government’s plans to ramp up the existing hospital and clinical treatment infrastructure.
Under this universal vaccination phase, all adults will become eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine and doses can be sold via the market from May 1 in the government’s latest inoculation drive. This decision makes India one of the first countries to allow all adults to seek a vaccine, although people under the age of 45 will only be able to receive doses once private sales begin or if state governments procure stocks for distribution to these age groups.
The government said manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines will be free to supply 50 per cent doses to states and in the open market, for which they will have to make an advance declaration of the price before May 1.
Guidelines for the states were:
-All the states were asked to register additional private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) in “mission mode” by engaging with private hospitals, hospitals of industrial establishments, industry associations, etc, coordinating with designated appropriate authority, mechanism for applications or requests and their processing and monitoring of pendency of registration.
-They are directed to monitor the number of hospitals, which have procured vaccines and have declared stocks and prices on COWIN.
-They will have to schedule vaccination for those eligible for providing adequate visibility of vaccination slots on COWIN.
-They will have to prioritise decision regarding the direct procurement of vaccines.
-The Centre asked them to publicise about the facility of ‘only online registration’ for age groups 18-45 year.
-They will have to train CVC staff about vaccination, Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) reporting and management and the use of COWIN.
-They will have to coordinate with law-and-order authorities for effective crowd management at CVCs.
The states were also advised to review their existing hospital and other Covid treatment infrastructure in light of the daily surge in new infection case, fatalities and those that would require hospitalisation.
The states were also advised to chalk out and implement a comprehensive plan for augmentation:
-The states were asked to identify additional dedicated Covid-19 hospitals and prepare field hospital facilities either through DRDO, CSIR or similar agencies in the public and private sector.
-To ensure adequacy in terms of oxygen supported beds, ICU beds and oxygen supplies. Setting up centralised call centre-based services for allocation of beds.
-Deploy requisite human resources with proper training and mentoring of doctors and nurses for management of patients and strengthening ambulance services.
-To establish sufficient referral linkages for districts with deficit infrastructure through the deployment of additional ambulances.
-They were all asked to set up centralised call centre-based services for allocation of beds.
They were also directed 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-19 care.
-Expand designated Covid-19 care facilities for isolation of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients so that all those who either cannot isolate at home and/or are willing for institutional isolation, have access to the requisite space and care.
-Provide telemedicine facilities for patients who are isolated at home.
-Ensure adequate availability of oxygen, ventilators and intensive care under trained doctors, as well as access to steroids and other drugs as appropriate.
-Also to step up the creation of in-hospital oxygen plants in large hospitals.
-Pay fair and regular remuneration to ASHAs and other frontline workers who are being engaged for Covid-19.