NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday asked 11 northeast and hill states and Union Territories (UTs) to quickly increase the first dose coverage of the vaccine against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) among those in the 18-plus age group and focus on those above 60 years, saying the coverage of both doses has been unsatisfactory in some states. The 11 states and UTs included Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Assam, Nagaland and Sikkim.
In a high-level review meeting chaired by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Saturday, it was observed that the coverage of both vaccine doses in the 60-plus age group is unsatisfactory in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya, according to a statement by the Union health ministry.
“The attention of the States was brought to the fact that the administration of the first dose has progressively outpaced the administration of the second dose. It was suggested that States earmark doses, earmark days and target the completion of the exercise for these beneficiaries,” the statement added.
During the meeting, other issues which were discussed included Covid-19 vaccination coverage among special groups, including transgenders, persons with disabilities, prisoners; coverage among women, specifically pregnant and lactating women and details regarding balance stock of 0.5 ml syringes with states and UTs.
Union health secretary Bhushan also advised states and UTs to keep monitor the stock from the state vaccine stores to cold chain point, check rational distribution and restrict wastage of vaccines below 2 per cent, update data on the electronic vaccine intelligence network (eVIN) daily and also check the supply of other denomination syringes as per availability for vaccination, the health ministry statement also said.
Saturday’s meeting with these states comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting with the chief ministers of northeastern states on July 13, where he called for greater emphasis on micro-containment zones amid the influx of tourists at hill stations and markets. Modi said that officials had to keep an eye out for the various variants of Covid-19, and also called for greater cooperation to prevent the third pandemic wave.