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COVID-19 Vaccination in India to Open for All Aged Above 18 Years in 3rd Phase: Govt

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All above 18 in india eligible for covid-19 vaccination

New Delhi-From May 1, 2021, everyone above the age of 18 would be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination, the Government of India decided today. As per the government, the decision has been taken as a good amount of coverage of vulnerable groups is expected by 30th April.

Pertinent to mention that a demand was being raised to open vaccination for all amid the peaking second wave of the pandemic which is proving to be deadlier than the first one. On Sunday, former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, had also written to Prime Minister Narender Modi to be more flexible in deciding eligibility for vaccination as it was the only hope. He had pointed out that when we look at the percentage of population instead of the absolute numbers, we see that only a small fraction has been covered so far. He had also suggested reworking on the current model adopted by the government. 

Singh had asked the Prime Minister to allow states to define who qualifies as a ‘frontline worker’.  Many states wanted to designate bus and taxi drivers, school teachers, municipal and panchayat staff, and even lawyers as frontline workers to make them eligible for vaccination even if they are below the requisite 45 years of age.

Phase-I of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy was launched on 16th January 2021, prioritizing vaccination of Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs). Phase-II was initiated from 1st March 2021, focusing on the most vulnerable i.e. all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80% of Covid mortality in the country. The private sector was also roped in to augment capacity.

So far, Emergency Use Authorisation has been granted to two indigenously manufactured vaccines (Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech), and a third vaccine (Sputnik) that while presently manufactured abroad will eventually be manufactured in India, the GoI said.

The government said that in its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage, the GoI said. This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivising vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international. It would also make pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines open and flexible, allowing all stakeholders the flexibility to customise to local needs and dynamics, the GoI said.

The main elements of the Phase 3 Strategy of the National Covid-19 Vaccination program that would come in effect from 1st May 2021

(i)      Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to Govt. of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to State Govts. and in the open market (hereinafter referred to as other than Govt. of India channel).

 (ii)    Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to State Govts. and in the open market, before 1st May 2021. Based on this price, State governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers. Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than Govt. of India channel. Private Vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18.

(iii)    Vaccination will continue as before in Govt. of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age.

(iv)    All vaccination (through Govt. of India and Other than Govt. of India channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, and mandated to follow all protocol such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting and all other prescribed norms. Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres will also have to be reported in real-time.

(v)     The division of vaccine supply 50% to Govt. of India and 50% to other than Govt. of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However, the Government of India will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilized in the other than Govt. of India channel.

(vi)    Govt. of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) & performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criterion and will affect the criteria negatively. Based on the above criteria, State-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the States adequately in advance.

(vii) The Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.

(viii) This policy would come into effect from 1st May 2021 and will be reviewed from time to time.

Feature Photo: ivvndiaz/unsplash

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Shimla City’s Sanitation Worker Dies of Covid-19, Demand Raised to Pay Rs. 50 Lakh Ex-Gratia as Assured to All Frontline Workers  

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Shimla– Sanitation workers/garbage collectors in Himachal Pradesh are among the frontline workers who had been performing their duties unabated regardless of lockdowns. Right from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, sanitation workers have been playing their part in combating it. The pandemic has grown deadlier this year with its second wave. Sanitation workers and garbage-collectors are at higher risk of contracting the infection due to the nature of their job. 

One of these sanitation workers, Sun Kumar, working under the Shimla Environment, Heritage & Beautification Society (SHEB) as a garbage collector, succumbed to Covid-19.

He was about 32-year-old and is survived by a wife and an infant. Demand has been raised to pay Rs. 50 lakh as Ex-Gratia and job to a family member. When the concerned authority was asked regarding the same, it said a request has been forwarded to higher officials for the Ex-Gratia and situation would be clear only after their approval. 

The former mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, was one of those raising this demand.

“The city didn’t lose a sanitation worker but a Covid warrior due to the coronavirus,” he said in a statement released today.

“The government has recognized sanitation workers as frontline workers and had decided to pay Rs. 50 as Ex-Gratia to any such worker who dies on duty. So, the family should be paid the said amount at the earliest along with ensuring employment to one of the family members,” he demanded.

Pertinent to mention that on April 23, 2020, the Himachal Pradesh Government had announced that a sum of Rs. 50 lakhs would be paid as Ex-Gratia out of HPSDMA COVID-19 State Disaster Response Fund to the next of kin of those officers and officials working in the State Government (except health workers) i.e. regular, outsourced, contractual, daily wagers and employees of SEHB Society of Municipal Corporation Shimla engaged in sanitation activities and working in different capacities for the response, relief and containment measures of COVID-19, in case of their death due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Chauhan further appealed to the state government to provide high-quality PPE kits to all the frontline workers of various departments deployed on the Covid duty. He also demanded that the Municipal Corporation, Shimla, should also ensure regular health checkups of its employees to prevent any further loss of lives.   

The state on 17th January 2021 had vaccinated Hardeep Singh, a sanitation worker at the Indira Gandhi Medical Collage & Hospital, Shimla. He was the first person in Himachal to get the vaccine jab. Also, sanitation workers were also honoured last year and certificates of appreciation were given to workers of wards number 16 and 17. 

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Himachal: 53 Succumb to Severe Covid Symptoms in 24 Hours, Spike in Fatality Rate Among Patients With No Comorbidities

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Shimla-On Monday, Himachal reported 4,359 new cases of coronavirus while 53 people succumbed to severe symptoms of infection. This took the state death toll to 1,925 and the total number of infections to 1,35,782 till now according to official data.

 Kangra district continues to report the highest numbers of daily deaths due to coronavirus. In the last 24 hours, the district reported 18 deaths. While the Solan district reported the second-highest casualties with eight deaths in the last 24-hours. The youngest patient to succumb to coronavirus was a 24-year-old man from the Solan district. The man died of sudden cardiopulmonary arrest with severe SARS COVID 19 Pneumonia according to official data. No other comorbidity was cited in the report.

About 16 of the deceased persons were aged below 50 years. According to the official statistics, at least 45 (84%) of the deceased had no comorbidities.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

dailly covid case himachal

Source: HP NHM

Meanwhile, in its recent press statement, a state government spokesperson said that the positivity rate of Covid-19 across the state has come out to be 26.3% in the last week. Districts of Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Shimla, Mandi, Solan, and Sirmour have recorded a positivity rate of more than 20 percent from May 3 to May 9. 

In the last 24-hours, a total of 10,746 Covid testings was done across the state out of which 1,180 remains awaited.

Till now the state has conducted 16,33,923 sampling across the state however, the daily testing rate continues to fluctuate and remains below 20,000 tests per day.

Further, according to the government, by May 10, a total of 16,59,619 people had received the vaccine, out of which 38,0791 people had received both doses. Meanwhile, the state has gone under stricter corona curfew with restrictions imposed on interstate travelling as well.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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Himachal Achieved Highest Full Immunisation Coverage & Zero Vaccine Wastage, Claims HP NHM

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COVID-19 Vaccination in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The Government of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday claimed that the state has been able to achieve zero vaccine wastage during the COVID Vaccination programme that started on Jan 16, 2021 The vaccine wastage is -1.4% whereas, for some other states, it has been even more than 10%, the government claimed.

Dr. Nipun Jindal, Director, National Health Mission, said that the state received a total stock of 2119710, out of which a total of 1986812 doses were administered till 7h May 2020. The stock available at Cold Chain points after utilisation as per eVIN(Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) was 160730.  Hence, the number of net utilised doses was 1958980, he claimed.   

He informed that the vaccine is being administered through an AD (Auto Disabled) syringe.

Dr. Jindal claimed that according to NFHS-5 data, Himachal Pradesh has the highest Full Immunisation Coverage among all States in the entire country. Himachal Pradesh has sustained its routine Immunisation activities during the COVID pandemic as well.

Further, he informed that there are basically three reasons that lead to wastage. Transportation-related vaccine wastage occurs when vials and syringes get damaged in transit. Storage-related vaccine wastage happens when doses need to be thrown out because they could have developed possible defects as a result of improper temperature or humidity conditions. A vial not being used with maximum efficiency leads to wastage at the Vaccination Centre. A vial once opened also needs to be used up within a certain time limit. If the doses from the vial are not administered in time, they have to be thrown away.

Dr Jindal also informed that the vial generally contains more doses than mentioned and the state ensured to use the extra doses. He added that the Vaccinators were trained for loading and administering the doses as per the guidelines by the Health Department to ensure minimal wastage of the vaccine.  

“To minimise the vaccine wastage, the facilitated Cohort Mobilisation was done by the Health Workers, ASHAs and AWWs to maintain a staggered and continuous movement to the COVID vaccination Centre in Himachal Pradesh,” Dr. Jindal said.

He also informed that Govt. of India allocates vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of performance, the extent of infections and wastage of vaccines. Based on the above criteria, the State would be able to secure more vaccines from the central Government for the prioritized groups

Dr. Jindal also informed that 50 portable ventilators have been received from Switzerland and 150 oxygen concentrators from China in the form of international aid. He also informed that the State has also made the PSA Oxygen plant at Dr. RKGMC Hamirpur functional which is of 300 LPM capacity.

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