SRINAGAR: The Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam on Tuesday chaired the maiden meeting of the UT Steering Committee to monitor the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination. The Committee reviewed the arrangements being made to ensure hassle-free and time-bound delivery of COVID-vaccines across the Union Territory.
Administrative Secretaries of the departments of Health & Medical Education, Home, Social Welfare, Housing & Urban Development, Information, Transport, Rural Development, Tribal Affairs, besides Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM) and officers from the Army, CRPF and Northern Railways participated in the meeting.
The meeting was informed that various COVID-19 vaccines are currently in the third phase of clinical trials and will be shortly available for usage. As such, the Health & Medical Education Department was asked to do the preparatory planning beforehand, and compile the database of potential vaccinators, prioritized groups of beneficiaries to be administered the vaccine in its initial stages starting from healthcare workers both in government and private establishments, frontline workers including armed forces, home guards, police, volunteers, municipal workers, etc, the prioritized age group of persons above the age of 50 years, and persons with co-morbidities.
The H&ME Department was asked to work out the human resource requirements for organizing dedicated COVID-vaccination drives and to further ensure that they do not compromise the existing arrangements for COVID-19 testing and routine immunization drives. The Department was advised to engage additional vaccinators among MBBS/BDS doctors/interns, staff nurses, auxiliary nursing midwives, pharmacists, and retired persons, besides training potential vaccinators.
The Department was further asked to develop a robust database to assess auxiliary requirements such as additional cold chain equipment, hub cutters and waste bags for bio-medical waste management and prepare plans for cold chain installation sites, dry storage sites for vaccines and syringes, and facilities for transportation of vaccines at district and block levels,
To effectively deliver the vaccines at the grass-root level, Chief Secretary impressed upon greater coordination between the frontline workers of various departments including health, social welfare, school education, rural development, and housing and urban development.
The Chief Secretary also emphasized the need of evolving a multi-sectoral response to the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine by involving NGOs, NCC, and other volunteers, besides maintaining open and transparent communication through a proactive IEC strategy to curb misinformation and rumors.
It was also informed that to facilitate coordination between government authorities, vaccinating agencies, and the general public, a digital platform for COVID-19 vaccination delivery named ‘CO-WIN’ is also being developed. The said portal will be supplemented with a mobile application to facilitate beneficiaries in getting registered; receive SMS alerts regarding the vaccination and an electronic QR based vaccination certificate carrying all the vaccine-related information.