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New Delhi : Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the progress of Covid-19 vaccination with Health Secretaries and NHM MDs of States and UTs, through video conference (VC) on October 18, 2021. One of the largest such exercises globally, the countrywide Covid-19 vaccination programme was launched on January 16, 2021, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Highlighting that the nation is close to administering a billion doses, Health Secretary congratulated the States/UTs on their effort to vaccinate all citizens. It was highlighted that a sizeable number of beneficiaries who are eligible have not received their 2nd dose. States and UTs were urged to focus on these second vaccination dose, according to a PIB release.

It was pointed out that many States have adequate doses to vaccinate those awaiting their 2nd dose. The Government of India is in a position to provide additional vaccine doses to the States/UTs so that they can complete the aforesaid task. They were also exhorted to improve the momentum and accelerate the vaccination drive.

States and UTs were advised to identify and prioritise districts having low coverage for focused action and explore requirement for mobilisation efforts, addressing local challenges, need for additional Covid Vaccination Centres, and improving access to rural areas. They were also requested to share their strategies to enhance second dose coverage.

The Health Ministry has issued various SOPs over the last one year for International Travel. It is in the process of reviewing the guidelines in consultation with all stakeholders including the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the Ministry of External Affairs. States/UTs were also requested to share their suggestion or feedback.

Dr. Manohar Agnani, AS (Health), MoHFW, and Lav Agarwal, JS (Health), MoHFW, were present at the meeting along with Principal Secretary (Health), Additional Chief Secretary (Health), and State Surveillance Officer of the states/UTs concerned.