Set up 3-tier panels for Covid-19 vaccine drive: Centre

Centre asks states to form committees for smooth Covid-19 vaccination drive

Bhushan sought constitution of committees at state and district levels which will review preparatory activities in terms of cold chain preparedness

The Centre asked states to put in place a three-tier system to coordinate the Covid-19 vaccination drive and also guard against misinformation and rumours that could impact community acceptance of the inoculation against the virus that has caused 12 lakh deaths across the globe.

In a letter to state governments, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has also urged them to put in place effective communication plans in place to also watch out for over-eagerness among the people to get themselves vaccinated.

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Bhushan said the Covid-19 vaccine introduction would span over a year with multiple groups being included “sequentially starting from health care workers”.

“Therefore, it is important to create strong advisory and coordination mechanism at state and district level to guide the process of Covid-19 vaccine introduction while ensuring minimal disruption of other routine health care services including immunisation,” said the letter dated October 26.

He sought constitution of committees at state and district levels which will review preparatory activities in terms of cold chain preparedness, operational planning, strategies for state-specific challenges in terms of geographical terrain and hard-to-reach areas.

The Union Health Secretary suggested setting up of a State Steering Committee (SSC) chaired by the chief secretary, a State Task Force (STF) led by Additional Chief Secretary or principal secretary (health), and a District Task Force (DTF) to be headed by the district magistrate.

The letter also outlines the terms of references for the committees to ensure active involvement of all departments concerned and devise innovative strategies for improving community engagement (Jan Bhagidaari) for improved coverage of the Covid-19 vaccine once it is available.

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The STF has been tasked with providing guidance, including funding and operational guidelines, fixing timelines for districts to plan and implement Covid-19 vaccine introduction and identifying vaccinators across government and private sectors so as to minimise disruption of routine immunisation services.

The DTF will monitor the progress of database of beneficiaries on Covid-19 vaccination, ensure training of all concerned HR on Covid-19 Vaccination Beneficiary Management system (CVBMS), monitor progress on key activities such as micro-planning, communication planning, cold chain and vaccine logistics planning.