The Union Health Minister on Thursday said that the demand for more vaccines from States arouses narrow political passion among the masses which harms the “Whole-of-government” approach to tackle the pandemic.
Harsh Vardhan held a review meeting with health ministers of six states on the coronavirus situation. The meeting was attended by Rajesh Tope, Health Minister (Maharashtra), Dr K Sudhakar, Health Minister (Karnataka), Ms. K KShailaja, Health Minister (Kerala), M Subramanian, Health Minister (Tamil Nadu) among others.
During the meeting, Vardhan advised states invest in long term planning to curb pandemic fatigue in medical workforce and continued strain on administrative machinery.
"Many states have been fighting the pandemic for more than a year which has gradually exhausted the medical workforce and the public health machinery. He suggested that states take a pro-active role in ensuring the rotation of workforce and their regular counselling regarding their duty," he said.
On the common demand from the state health ministers to increase the quota of vaccines for their states, Harsh Vardhan said: "88 per cent of the fatalities were in the age group of 45+ which prompted us to open the vaccination to that group in a gradual manner. However, states depending on their own situation can opt for vaccination of other age groups through direct procurement now. The lack of availability of a second dose has been taken into consideration when guidelines for reserving 70 per cent of vaccines were framed.”
He also informed of the monthly production capacity of the vaccines to the states and reassured that vaccines will be distributed equitably among the states. Production capacity is being steadily ramped up and will touch 80 million doses by May 2021 and 90 million by June 2021.