New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has written to all states and UTs highlighting the need to significantly enhance the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations, noting that a large number of healthcare and frontline workers still remain to be covered.
In a letter addressed to chief secretaries of all states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the number of days of vaccination in a week should also be increased to a minimum of four days per week at the earliest to speed up the process of vaccination and gear up system to take up the vaccination of the 50+ population.
While some states are carrying out vaccination twice a week some others are carrying out four or more than four times a week.
Adequate provisions have been made in the Co-WIN software to support such expansion of services, he said.
The letter dated February 19 stated a large number of healthcare and frontline workers still remain to be covered and the progress is variable across several states and UTs.
"As highlighted during several review meetings that have been conducted with the states and UTs, the pace of vaccination drive and its coverage needs to be accelerated exponentially to cover all identified beneficiaries in a minimum possible time.
"Further, the operational strategy for initiating the vaccination of next priority group of elderly population and persons with comorbidities to be taken up in March, 2021 is also being finalised," the letter said.
"In view of the anticipated high number of beneficiaries to be vaccinated at a high speed in the forthcoming days", Bhushan advised states and UTs to ensure that all public health facilities from tertiary level medical colleges, hospitals and institutes to district hospitals, sub-divisional hospitals, community health centres, PHCs, health and wellness centres, health sub-centres etc. should be prepared for offering COVID-19 vaccination services on all designated vaccination days beginning March 1.
You are requested to kindly direct the concerned officials to immediately undertake measures for expansion of COVID-19 vaccination drive. Your continuous guidance to the state and UT teams has been instrumental in driving the ongoing vaccination process and the same is anticipated for upcoming phases as well. I look forward to your continued collaboration in this critical mission of national importance," the letter stated.
Till February 21, a total of 1,10,85,173 vaccine doses have been administered through 2,30,888 sessions, as per the provisional report. These include 63,91,544 healthcare workers (1st dose), 9,60,642 healthcare workers (2nd dose) and 37,32,987 frontline workers (1st dose).