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Union Health Ministry reviews COVID-19 vaccination progress with states, UTs

NEW DELHI: Union Health Ministry reviewed the status and progress of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive with states and union territories (UTs) on Monday.

As per the ministry, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the progress of COVID-19 vaccination with Health Secretaries and National Health Mission MDs of states and UTs, through a video conference yesterday.

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

It was pointed out that many states have adequate doses to vaccinate those people who are awaiting their second dose. As per the ministry, over 10.42 crore balance and unutilised COVID vaccine doses are still available with the states and union territories to be administered.

The ministry said that the Central government is in a position to provide additional vaccine doses to the states and 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 requirements for mobilisation efforts, addressing local challenges, the need for additional Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) and improving access in rural areas. They were also requested to share their strategies to enhance second dose coverage.

India's COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed that the cumulative COVID vaccination coverage crossed 99 crores on Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said that it 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 and UTs were also requested to share their suggestion or feedback.

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