The Union Health Ministry has advised Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry to rope in all stakeholders including NGOs, faith-based organisations, religious leaders, community influencers and other partners to motivate and mobilise all eligible people towards full COVID Vaccination.
Urging the states to launch aggressive campaign to increase the pace and ensure full COVID-19 inoculation of the adult population, Mandaviya said, “We are in the last lap of COVID19 Vaccination. Let us launch aggressive campaign to ensure full COVID-19 vaccination by increasing the pace of vaccination and expanding the coverage”.
While virtually interacted with Health Secretaries and senior officials of the Health Department from Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Puducherry during the meeting he chaired to review the status of COVID 19 vaccination in these States/UT and the progress under the Har Ghar Dastak campaign, the Minister said, “Let us ensure collectively that no eligible citizen is left without the ‘Suraksha Kawachh’ of COVID19 vaccine in the country, and to address issues of hesitancy, misinformation, superstition etc.”
These States/UT have been reporting low vaccination coverage. While India’s first dose coverage is at 82% and second dose coverage at 43%, Puducherry (66%, 39%), Nagaland (49%, 36%), Meghalaya (57%, 38%) and Manipur (54%, 36%) lag behind from national average in their first and second dose coverage.
Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya urged the States to deploy all State Govt officials, one day each week, to visit each eligible household to motivate and mobilise them to towards full vaccination. He reiterated Prime Minister’s mop-up strategies for strengthening the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign including deploying ‘Prachar Toli’ in advance to villages which would ensure mobilisation and counselling of the eligible population along with awareness campaigns, followed by the ‘Vaccination Toli’ who would ensure that all eligible citizens are vaccinated with the first and second dose. “I have observed during my recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh the use of stickers of “Fully Vaccinated Home”. Similar innovative strategies can be used in other states too”, he stated. States can also make children and students as COVID19 Vaccination Ambassadors to urge and motivate the elders and eligible members in their families and communities to take both doses of COVID19 vaccine, he added.
Dr. Mandaviya exhorted the States to prepare detailed district-wise micro plans, deploy adequate number of teams and to regularly review the daily progress of the low performing districts. States were urged to make innovative short videos to address target groups for hesitancy, along with effective use of various social media platforms and traditional media.
The Union Health Minister engaged with the States/UT to know the specific reasons holding back the wide scaling up of vaccination drive under the ongoing ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign. He was apprised of the ongoing efforts by the State/UT administration to address issues of hesitancy.
While India’s first dose coverage is at 82% (as on date), except for the UT of Puducherry, coverage of other states remain below 60%. Meghalaya with a target population over 20 lakh has 8 lakh people waiting to be given 1st dose and due beneficiaries for 2nd dose are over 2.5 lakh. Similarly, Manipur has over 10 lakh people yet to get their 1st dose and over 3.7 lakh due beneficiaries for their 2nd dose out of a target population of 23.4 lakhs. Nagaland with a target population of 14.7 lakhs has over 7.5 lakh 1st doses to be achieved and 1.2 lakh beneficiaries due for 2nd doses. Puducherry with a population has 11.3 lakhs has 3.88 lakh people yet to get 1st dose and 1.91 lakh eligible but yet to receive 2nd dose.
Shri Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Dr. Manohar Agnani, Addl. Secretary (Health), Dr. Sunil Kumar, Director General of Health Services, Ms. Indrani Kaushal, Jt. Secretary (Health), Shri Ashok Babu, Jt. Secretary (Health) and other senior officials of the Ministry were present in the meeting.