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New Delhi : Union Health and Family Welfare  Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviyatoday while interacting with Health Ministers of States/UTs, in the presence of Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, on November 11, 2021, stressed on collective efforts to ensure no citizen is left without protection of Covid-19 vaccine.

“Lets us ensure collectively through collaborative and multi-stakeholder efforts that no eligible citizen is left without the ‘Suraksha Kawachh’ of Covid-19 vaccine in the country. Let us reach each corner and household across the country and motivate people to take both the doses under Prime Minister  Narendra Modi ji’s Har Ghar Dastak campaign,” said Dr Mandaviya, according to a PIB release.The meeting also reviewed the public health measures for containment and management of Covidd-19 in the States and UTs.

Health Ministers of States/UTs Veena George (Kerala), Dr Dhan Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand), Banna Gupta (Jharkhand), Dr Lalthangliana (Mizoram), Mangal Pandey (Bihar), Dr K Sudhakar (Karnataka), Rajesh Tope (Maharashtra), Dr. Prabhuram Choudhary (Madhya Pradesh),  Jai Pratap Singh (Uttar Pradesh), MaSubramanian (Tamil Nadu), Vishwajit Rane (Goa), Rushikesh Ganeshbhai Patel (Gujarat), Keshab Mahanta (Assam), Satyendar Jain (Delhi), were present at the meeting. Principal Secretaries/ Additional Chief Secretaries/ Mission Director (NHM) of all states were also present.

Mandaviya said  at present 79% of adult population has got the 1st dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 38% of the eligible population has received the second dose. Noting that more than 12 crore beneficiaries are due for their 2nd dose of vaccine, he urged the State Health Ministers to ensure that all the adult population is covered with the first doses during the ongoing ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign, while those who are due for the second doses are also motivated to take the second dose.

The Union Health Minister 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.

A strategy of multiple vaccination teams (50-100) to ensure 100% coverage in the targeted area in a time bound manner; development of a ranking mechanism for identifying and felicitating the vaccination teams (District and Block) which administer the maximum number of vaccine doses every 24 hours for motivated progress of Covid-19 vaccination; utilising local weekly Bazaars and Haats for creating awareness and providing vaccination services; collaborating with local religious and community leaders; roping in CSOs, NGOs, NSS, NYK etc., for motivating the unvaccinated in the village/urban areas;  multimedia IEC awareness campaigns to effectively counter anti-vaccine rumours; and emulating innovative approaches and practices followed by high coverage districts within the States/UTs for adoption of similar strategies, were stressed by Mandaviya during the review meeting.

Noting that children can be the best ambassadors for behaviour change, he urged the States/UTs to rope in children for taking forward the message of full vaccination. “Let the children motivate their parents and the other family members to take both the vaccine doses,” Mandaviya stated.

Mandaviya suggested: “Let us start Covid vaccination centres at bus stations, railway stations etc., especially in large metros, as they are the primary points for a large number of people entering the city. Some states have started a ‘Roko and Toko’ campaign where the passengers getting down from buses, trains, rickshaws etc., are motivated to take the vaccine doses.” He also suggested that each day of the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign can be dedicated to mobilisation and vaccination of different groups of beneficiaries. “One day can be dedicated to traders, hawkers, vendors, shopkeepers etc., on other days we can mobilise rickshawpullers and auto drivers. One day can be dedicated to labourers and farmers,” he added.
While reviewing the ongoing Covid control and management of public health measures, the Union Health Minister cautioned all States/UTs that Covid-9 was not over. “We shouldn’t think that Covid is over. Cases are rising globally. In Singapore, Britain, Russia, and China cases are rising again despite more than 80 percent vaccination. Vaccination and Covid Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) should go hand in hand,” Mandaviya stressed.

He further added that while vaccination reduces the severity of the disease, adherence to CAB is of utmost important to ensure that the gains made collectively by the country so far are not frittered away and that we do not have any other surge of Covid-19 cases.  Mandaviya observed that fight against COVID-19 is at the final stage: “The two weapons of Vaccination and CAB will be our greatest defence against it and we should not let our guard down before it is completely over.” Terming Vaccination as ‘Suraksha kawachh’, he re-iterated the call of PM Narendra Modi, “Dawai bhi Kadai bhi!”

The State Health Ministers expressed their gratitude to the Union Health Minister for the supply of vaccine, drugs, financial, and technical resources for Covid management. They also shared the innovative steps being taken to ensure saturation of vaccination, especially in the low-performing districts. Mandaviya exhorted all State health officials to reach out to every home under  “Har Ghar Dastak” campaign.