BY SUDHIR KUMAR

The Centre has asked the States and Union Territories to improve the momentum of COVID-19 vaccination and accelerate the coverage as the country moves forward to vaccinate all the eligible population by end of the year. So far 71.24 crore first doses of vaccines covering 76 per cent of the eligible population and around 30 crore second doses covering 32 per cent of the population have been administered.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan today reviewed the progress of COVID-19 vaccination with Health Secretaries and Mission Directors of National Health Mission of States and Union Territories through video conference. The focus of the meeting was to urge the States and UTs to increase the pace of the countrywide vaccination and coverage of the second dose.

This comes in the backdrop of the country achieving the milestone of administering 100 crore doses on 21st of October. Highlighting the sizeable number of eligible beneficiaries who have not received their second dose, Mr Bhushan urged the States and UTs to focus on those beneficiaries who are waiting for their second dose after their interval period has been over.

The Union Health Secretary also noted that the detailed line-lists of due beneficiaries can be utilized for preparing a district-wise second dose administration plan involving the District Magistrate for execution in a time-bound manner. During the meeting, it was suggested to review the progress of such district-wise plan daily, to ensure saturation of all eligible beneficiaries.

In addition, States and UTs were also advised to identify and prioritize districts having low coverage for focused action and explore requirement for mobilization efforts, addressing local challenges,need for additional Vaccination Centres and improving access in rural areas. States were also requested to share their strategies to enhance second dose coverage.

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