Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 7
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asked his state counterparts to fight COVID vaccine misinformation at every cost and use all tools at their disposal to send out “positive information about the jabs and boost people’s confidence in the vaccine plan.”
During his virtual address to the health ministers of 33 states and UTs where the COVID vaccine dry run is planned for tomorrow, Vardhan also flagged the need to address any potential adverse event following immunization that might occur during the jab administration process.
“State health ministers should especially focus on adverse events following immunization. Also, too much misinformation is being spread on the COVID vaccines. No misinformation campaign should be allowed to succeed at any cost,” Vardhan said.
The minister asked the states to make sure that every beneficiary of the COVID vaccine is rested at the session site for at least half an hour and immediately sent to the nearest health facility in case of any adverse event.
He said while Covishield and COVAXIN had been licensed for use in India, seven vaccines are in clinical trial stage in the country and 30 are under different stages of development.
“India is well known for arranging glitch free elections through booth level management. The same experience of election management and of universal health immunization logistics will be used to deliver the first doses of COVID vaccines to one crore health workers and two crore frontline workers,” Vardhan said.
Prison staffers would be included among the frontline workers along with central and state police forces, paramilitary, disaster management teams and revenue workers, among others.
“We will be starting with three crore health and frontline workers. Tomorrow we have another trial run for a smooth rollout,” the minister said.
He also urged all state ministers to ensure the National Immunization Day — January 17 — sees polio vaccination of all under 5 children.
The minister warned that two of India’s neighbouring countries have reported cases of wild polio virus 1 and South Africa has seen vaccine derived polio virus.
“India has not seen any polio case for ten years but the risk of resurgence remains alive till even one country in the world has the virus. So, we have to ensure oral polio vaccination of all under 5 children across India on January 17,” said Vardhan.