June will witness a 50% increase in availability of Covid-19 vaccine doses compared to May

Vaccination numbers are set to see a significant increase in June with nearly 12 crore (120 million) vaccine doses being available across the country during the month.

Having announced a 50% increase in availability over May, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reviewed the status of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive with representatives of states and Union Territories (UTs) on Monday.

The meeting chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan discussed ways to ramp up the vaccination numbers.

Appreciating the collective efforts of States and UTS to increase the pace of vaccination in the last week of May, Bhushan pointed out that there was substantial scope to accelerate the pace of vaccination even further.

He assured that the Central Government will provide the states and UTs with the available buffer stock to urgently replenish their depleting stocks so that the vaccination drive carries on with a steady pace, the health ministry said after the meeting.

Vaccination close to home for elderly, differently abled

With a focus on community-based outreach approach, vaccination sessions can be conducted in non-health facility based settings which are nearer to home.

These include community centres, panchayat ghar, school buildings.or old age homes, the health ministry has told states and UTs in an advisory for Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres (NHCVCs) for Elderly and Differently Abled Citizens.

States and UTs were urged to increase the number of NHCVCs and create awareness among the masses for use of these centres. The process of identification of NHCVC Site and linkage with existing CVC was also reiterated.

"Nodal Officer of designated CVC will review the proposed NHCVCs for essential criteria, namely the availability of 3 rooms/space for vaccination, accessibility for senior citizens/ special need, feasibility of managing AEFIs and availability of internet. Nodal Officer In charge of designated CVC is required to ensure vaccine, logistics and vaccination team deployment on the day of vaccination," the ministry pointed out.

States and UTs were exhorted to proactively increase engagement with private hospitals on COVID vaccinations. They were advised to constitute a 2/3-member dedicated team to regularly coordinate with vaccine manufacturers and private hospitals for timely supplies of vaccine.

States and UTs were also asked to make focused efforts to drastically reduce wastage of Covid-19 vaccine doses through optimal vaccine utilization.

While the overall levels have considerably reduced, the Union Health Secretary pointed that there were many states which still needed to substantially reduce the wastage. "It was suggested to States/UTs to retrain and reorient vaccinators to ensure judicious usage of the vaccines," the ministry said in its statement.