Set up panels for Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, govt tells states
Union health ministry has asked states and Union territories to set up committees to oversee and coordinate the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination at the ground level while making sure that there are minimal disruptions in other routine health care services.
In a letter to states and Union territories (UT), Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan suggested constitution of committees at state and district levels to review preparatory activities.
“In all likelihood, the Covid-19 vaccine introduction will span over a year with multiple groups being included sequentially starting from health care workers. Therefore it is important to create a strong advisory and coordination mechanism at the state and district level to guide the process of Covid-19 vaccine introduction while ensuring minimal disruption of other routine healthcare services including immunisation,” according to the terms of references shared with the states.
The committees will also coordinate cold chain augmentation, capacity building activities of vaccinators and field staff, wherever needed, it said.
The states have been asked to constitute at least three committees at different levels — a state steering committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary, a state task force chaired by either the additional chief secretary, commissioner, or principal health secretary; and a district task force functional under the district magistrate.
The function of the steering committee will be to ensure active engagement of other line departments, oversight on creation of database of health care workers on priority of phase 1 vaccination, review of state’s preparatory activities, mobilising human and other resources, and coordinate planning, among others.
The state task force’s role will be to identify vaccinators across government and private sectors so as to minimise disruption of routine immunisation services while introducing the Covid-19 vaccine, and planning and mapping of vaccination sessions where health care workers will be vaccinated, etc.
At the district level, the task force will monitor progress of database of beneficiaries, ensure training of all human resource to be involved in the process, and monitor cold chain and vaccine logistics planning, etc.
“The vaccine will take some time but logistical arrangements will have to be made early to avoid any last minute glitches,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, founder, Public Health Foundation of India.