Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said states will ensure all beneficiaries, who have taken the first Covid-19 dose, will be prioritised for the second doses. States have been asked to reserve at least 70 per cent vaccines supplied to them by the Centre for the second dose vaccination and remaining 30 per cent for the first dose.
States also have the liberty to enhance this to as much as 100 per cent. States have been asked to undertake awareness campaigns for reinforcing the importance of complete vaccination with two doses of the vaccine. The health secretary told state representatives the visibility for the forthcoming fortnight is conveyed to them in advance to enable better and more effective planning.
He also urged them to minimise vaccine wastage. He said many states still need to substantially reduce the wastage. They were told to retrain and reorient vaccinators to ensure judicious usage of the vaccines. Certain states have reported a negative wastage because the well-trained health workers can extract maximum doses per vial than what is otherwise generally earmarked.
States were also briefed about procurement from the 'Other than Government of India' (OGoI)' channel that has been opened in the phase 3 of vaccination. They were told to form a team of 2 or 3 senior officers to coordinate with vaccine manufacturers on a daily basis and secure supplies promptly.
This team will also coordinate with private hospitals to facilitate procurement. The empowered group chairman also said that COWIN app will provide the flexibility and feature for reserving slots for 2nd dose soon.
The issue of vaccine shortage has taken center-stage in India, with many states, including Delhi, reporting vaccine crunch. The Delhi government, in an SOS to the Centre on Monday, said it has Covaxin stock only to last a day, while Covishield stock is enough for around four days.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday suggested to the central government that it should share the COVID-19 vaccine formula of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech with other firms in the country in order to scale up production of the coronavirus jab. He also said there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses across India. Kejriwal added there is an urgent need for the country to scale up its manufacturing on a war footing.