India is currently witnessing a hospitalization rate of 5-10% for COVID-19 infections. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has therefore encouraged states to keep an eye on the active coronavirus caseload. On Monday, the country also started the distribution of a third “precaution” COVID-19 vaccine dose. This booster is available for healthcare and frontline workers, as well as persons over 60 with co-morbidities.
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Dynamic and Shifting COVID-19 Situation
Mr Bhushan described the COVID-19 situation as dynamic and shifting in his letter, with the possibility of hospitalization altering rapidly. He further advised states to keep an eye on oxygen and ICU beds, as well as ventilator support. He also asked state authorities to track the number of healthcare staff needed and their availability on a daily basis.
The Health Ministry has released a statement related to the precautionary vaccine dosages. The statement reported over nine lakh such doses were administered until 7 p.m. on the first day of “precaution” vaccinations.
Union Health Ministry Reviews Public Health Prep
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also reviewed public health preparation earlier in the day. He emphasized the necessity of the Test, Track, Treat, Vaccinate procedure and COVID-appropriate behaviour. Various state health ministers and officials attended the meeting with him, from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman & Diu. The Minister advised the states to also conduct frequent reviews of their health infrastructure and develop teleconsultation centres in each district.
Dr Mandaviya reiterated the Centre’s commitment to assisting states in limiting the pandemic. He also added the Centre’s support provided under the Emergency COVID Response Plan (ECRP)-II for improving health infrastructure across the country.
Furthermore, the Union has instructed states to examine their essential pharmaceutical buffer stock, ensuring dealing with any shortages through prompt purchase orders. The Minister recommended states increase vaccination of all eligible populations, particularly in areas/districts with poor vaccine coverage.
During the meeting, Mandaviya stressed the administration of a “precaution dose” for the indicated categories, urging the States to guarantee full coverage of the vulnerable population. He also requested an accelerated, full coverage of the eligible age bracket of 15-18 years as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, in a Twitter conversation on home isolation in the wake of an upsurge in Omicron cases, Health Ministry’s Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal focused on the government’s efforts in handling COVID-19. He also stated that people’s cooperation is critical in combating the pandemic.