Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, on Wednesday, 3 March, informed that time constraint on hospitals vaccinating people has been removed in a bid to increase the speed of vaccination. Thus, hospitals are now free to extend or advance their vaccination schedules.
In a tweet, on Wednesday, the Minister said:
"“The government has removed time constraint to increase the speed of vaccination. People can get vaccinated 24x7 at their convenience. Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands the value of both time and health of citizens.” "
Previously, on Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, according to NDTV, had pointed out that the Co-WIN portal has no 9 am to 5 pm vaccination system.
“It allows hospitals to vaccinate for as long as they want, even till 8 pm they can vaccinate. They can start as early as 8 am if they want. They will have to coordinate with the state government for schedule and capacity.”
Further, Bhushan, as per NDTV, had informed that the flexible timing is being offered to avoid crowding at vaccination sites.
"We did not want to divide time into compartments. It can be morning or afternoon, depending on hospital capacity... It's an important feedback that overcrowding is happening. We will make changes in the system to prevent overcrowding at vaccination sites.”
The Health Ministry has also, on Tuesday, said that States/UTs in consultation with private hospitals should open the vaccination slots for 15 days to a month and announce the same as part of their ‘Vaccine Time Table’.
‘ALL PRIVATE LABS CAN VACCINATE IF THEY FOLLOW NORMS’
The Centre, on Tuesday, 2 March, permitted all private hospitals to administer the COVID-19 vaccine if they adhere to the laid out norms.
“Private Hospitals not under Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), and State Insurance Schemes can now also be utilised as COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs),” the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.
The Centre also asked the states and Union territories (UTs) to make use of the optimum capacity of private medical facilities already functioning as COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs), and to not store, reserve, conserve, or create a buffer stock of the COVID-19 vaccines.
These developments came a day after the second phase of India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, covering those above 60 years of age or those over 45 with co-morbidities, began.
ADEQUATE STOCK: CENTRE
Further, the Centre, at an official review meeting also maintained that there is no shortage of the coronavirus vaccines, and therefore, adequate vaccine doses should be allocated to CVCs.
"The central government has adequate stock and will provide the required vaccine doses to the states and UTs,” said the Centre.
WHAT HAS THE CENTRE DIRECTED THE STATES TO DO?
The Centre, as per a Health Ministry press release asked the states to ensure the following:
To utilise 100 percent capacities of all private hospitals falling under AB-PMJAY, CGHS, and State Health Insurance Schemes in order to enable them to effectively function as CVCs. To regularly collaborate with the private hospitals in a bid ensure that their optimum capacities for vaccination are fully utilised.
Private hospitals that have not been empanelled under the above-mentioned three categories have also been permitted to operate as CVCs, conditional to them having adequate number of vaccinators, adequate space for observation of the vaccinated, adequate cold chain arrangement, and adequate arrangement for management of AEFI. States/UTs can make proactive efforts to use these private hospitals as CVCs.
Adequate allocation of vaccines to all hospitals (government and private) for the entire duration (as planned), in order to enable them to function as CVCs in a “smooth and obstruction free manner”.
All Private Vaccination Centres ought to have implemented effective crowd management protocols along with other facilities such as seating, water, proper signage, etc. They should also ensure that the citizen beneficiaries adhere to COVID-appropriate behaviour. State and district administrations would proactively facilitate this.
States/UTs in consultation with private hospitals should open the vaccination slots for 15 days to a month and announce the same as part of their Vaccine Time Table.
The Co-WIN 2.0 portal can be scaled up to accommodate all potential and eligible citizen beneficiaries. This portal should be put to effective use as “the backbone of the vaccination programme”.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
. Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.Covaxin Phase 3 Results Show 81% Clinical Efficacy: Bharat BiotechIndia Stick to ‘Spin-Friendly’ Surface, Won’t Boomerang: Kohli . Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.