Covid Spike: Govt asks states to strengthen surveillance, focus on genome sequencing

Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya interacts with State Health Ministers; reviews status and progress under the campaign, HarGharDastak 2.0

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New Delhi: In his latest meeting with Health Ministers and senior officials of  States and Union Territories, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the progress of vaccination exercise HarGharDastak 2.0 campaign.
“COVID is not over yet. There are reports of rising cases of COVID in some states. It is important at this time to be alert and not forget COVID appropriate behaviour (CAB) such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distance to prevent spread of the infection”, Dr Mandaviya stated while highlighting increased case positivity in some districts and states.
He said that increased and timely testing will enable early identification of COVID cases and help to curb spread of the infection among the community. Urging States/UTs to continue and strengthen the surveillance and focus on genome sequencing for identifying new mutants/variants in the country, he stated that the five-fold strategy of Test, Track, Treat, Vaccination & Adherence to Covid Appropriate Behavior (CAB) needs to be continued.
Stressing on the importance of COVID vaccination among the vulnerable age groups, he urged the State Health Ministers to personally review the status and progress of the special month-long drive Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign which has started since 1st June. He said “Let us accelerate our efforts to identify all beneficiaries in the 12-17 age group for the 1st and 2nd doses, so they can attend schools with the protection of the vaccine”. He urged States for focussed coverage of 12-17 age groups through school-based campaigns (Govt/Private/ informal Schools like Madrasas, Day Care Schools), along with targeted coverage of non-school going children during the summer vacation.
He added that the population group of above 60 years of age is a vulnerable category and needs to be protected with the Precaution Dose. “Our healthcare workers are going door-to-door to ensure that the vulnerable population is administered the Precaution Dose”, he said.
The States Health Ministers were urged to also review administration of precaution dose to 18-59 years age-group with the private hospitals on a regular basis. He said that we can utilize the learning from the first Har Ghar Dastak campaign to achieve 100% coverage among the eligible population for ensuring extended protection against COVID.
“Adequate vaccine doses are available across the country. Let us ensure accelerated coverage of COVID vaccination during the second phase of the Har Ghar Dastak campaign”, he stressed.
They were also strongly advised to ensure that there is no wastage of COVID-19 vaccines at any cost. This must be ensured through active monitoring and on the basis of “First Expiry First Out ” principle, where doses that expire earlier should be used for vaccination first, the Union Health Minister stated.