Ahead of the roll-out of vaccination of people aged between 18 and 45 from May 1, the Centre on Saturday asked states to register additional private vaccination centres and ensure effective crowd management at sites and stressed on inoculation through “only online registration” for beneficiaries in the age bracket.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to Combat COVID-19 chairman R S Sharma held a high-level meeting on Saturday to guide states and union territories on effective implementation of the new vaccination strategy (Phase-3) and to review their augmentation plans so as to strengthen the existing hospital and clinical treatment infrastructure for COVID-19 patients.
With regards to the Phase-3 vaccination strategy from May 1, the states were advised to register additional private COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) on mission mode by engaging with private hospitals, hospitals of industrial establishments, industry associations, etc., the health ministry said in a statement.
They have also been asked to monitor the number of hospitals that have procured vaccines and have declared stocks and prices on COWIN portal and schedule vaccination for eligible population for providing adequate visibility of vaccination slots on COWIN, the ministry said.
The states and UTs were asked to prioritise decision on direct procurement of vaccines by State/UT Government and publicising about facility of ‘only online registration’ for the 18-45 age group.
They were also asked to train vaccination centre staff about vaccination, adverse event following immunisation reporting and management, use of COWIN and to coordinate with law-and-order authorities for effective crowd management at sites.
On infrastructure augmentation for effective clinical treatment of the hospitalised COVID-19 patients, the states and UTs were advised to review their existing hospital and other treatment infrastructure in light of the daily new case, daily fatality and those that would require hospitalisation.
“To prepare and implement a Comprehensive Plan for Augmentation, the States were advised to identify additional Dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and prepare field hospital facilities either through DRDO, CSIR or similar agencies in the public and private sector,” it said.
The Centre asked states to ensure adequacy in terms of oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and oxygen supplies, set up centralized call centre-based services for allocation of beds, deploy of requisite human resources with proper training and mentoring of doctors and nurses for management of patients and to strengthen ambulance services.
The states were also advised to maintain a real-time record for available beds and make it easily accessible to general public and create guidelines and enable states to take over private health facilities to provide COVID-19 care.
They were also asked to expand designated COVID-19 care facilities for isolation of asymptomatic and mild symptomatic patients so that all those who either cannot isolate at home and/or are willing for institutional isolation, have access to the requisite space and care.
The states were also asked to provide tele-medicine facilities for patients who are isolated at home and ensure adequate availability of oxygen, ventilators and intensive care under trained doctors, as well as access to steroids and other drugs as appropriate step up creation of in-hospital oxygen plants in large hospitals.
“Pay fair and regular remuneration to ASHAs and other frontline workers who are being engaged for COVID-19,” the health ministry said in the statement.
The ministry cited various steps taken by the central government to augment hospital infrastructure in the states and UTs.
“The plan to set up temporary COVID Care facilities and makeshift hospitals, including ICU beds, in coordination with the DRDO and CSIR-CBRI was re-iterated. The State/UTs were guided to co-ordinate with corporate entities/PSUs/ government departments for their CSR funds to facilitate setting up makeshift hospitals and temporary COVID care facilities,” the ministry said.
“Cooperation with National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) for repurposing healthcare facilities (spread across 18 regional offices) for creation of COVID facilities was also advised. They were also advised to use Railway Coaches for management of mild cases; details of availability of 3,816 such coaches, across 16 Zones of Railways have been shared with the States,” the health ministry said.