New Delhi, May 12 — Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday that vaccination is a big weapon in the fight against Covid-19.
Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday interacted with the health ministers and principal secretaries/additional chief secretaries of eight states/UT in the presence of Union Minister of State for Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
The eight states/UT included Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Telangana, all depicting a rise in the number of daily cases with growing positivity rate.
At the meeting, Harsh Vardhan highlighted the trajectory of Covid in these states/UT and brought to their attention the consequent stress on the medical infrastructure.
He stressed on the continued need to follow Covid appropriate behaviour along with renewed and stringent focus on containment measures for addressing the present surge. He also noted that stringent adherence to implementation of micro-containment zones has helped.
Underlining the critical importance of the vaccination drive, Vardhan said, "Vaccination is our big weapon in the fight against Covid-19. India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of administering 17 crore doses in 114 days."
He pointed out that of these, 13.66 crore people have been administered the first dose, while the second dose has been given to 3.86 crore persons.
"It is very important that we first focus more on second dose vaccination. States should not lose sight of those who are to get the second dose of Covid vaccine: 70 per cent doses at minimum ought to be allocated to meet the requirement of the second jab, while 30 per cent ought to be reserved for the first dose," he said.
The Health Minister also urged the states to ensure that the healthcare workers and frontline workers are fully vaccinated, as they form the vulnerable categories.
Harsh Vardhan said that under the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy, along with free vaccination under government of India channel, states can use the non-GoI channel to have holistic vaccination coverage of their population.
"Every month, 50 per cent of the vaccine doses of every manufacturer would be available for direct procurement by the state governments and private hospitals while the government of India would continue to procure its share of 50 per cent of the vaccines and would continue to make them available to the state governments totally free of cost as was being done earlier," he said.
The Health Minister also pointed out that various measures are being taken by the Union government to ramp up vaccine production in the country and the production capacity of the vaccine manufacturers is also being augmented, adding that it will touch 8 crore doses by May, and will touch 9 crore in June.