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‘Vaccination centres must not insist on any document of foreign travel for precaution dose’


Health worker administering a Covid-19 vaccine in Vellore on Tuesday.

Health worker administering a Covid-19 vaccine in Vellore on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: C. Venkatachalapathy

The Union Health Ministry on Friday flagged concern over the considerably slow pace of COVID-19 vaccination across the States and urged them to significantly expedite the pace of full vaccination coverage by saturating all eligible beneficiaries and adopt a “First Expiry First Out” principle while using vaccines.

The Ministry directed that under no circumstances should any vaccination centre or any State government insist on any documentary proof of foreign travel for those who are seeking the precaution dose ahead of their travel abroad. 

This was communicated to all the States and Union Territories (UTs) by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan as he reviewed the status of vaccination with Health Secretaries and other senior health officials through a video conference on Friday.

Also, with data on the State-wise availability of vaccines vs. due beneficiaries, the States have been informed about the stock of near-expiry doses lying unused with them. Stating that COVID-19 vaccine is a precious resource, they were strongly advised to ensure that there is no wastage at any cost.

“This must be ensured through active monitoring and on the basis of “First Expiry First Out” principle, where doses that expire earlier should be used for vaccination first. Pointing out that supply of vaccine doses has been made to the States/UTs as per their demand since Dec. 2021, they were advised to first use the unused balance doses over the coming months of May, June and July,’’ a release issued by the Health Ministry said.

It was pointed out that in some States, persons who wish to travel abroad and seek to take the precaution dose within 90 days of the second dose are being asked to furnish proof of the intended foreign journey. Mr. Bhushan reiterated that under no circumstances should any vaccination centre or any State government insist on any documentary proof of foreign travel for those who are seeking the precaution dose ahead of their travel abroad. Communication in this regard had been shared with the States and UTs.

‘Mission mode’ push

Highlighting the urgent need for an intensive ‘Mission Mode’ push to COVID-19 vaccination across the country to accelerate the recent placid momentum, Mr. Bhushan said the States and the UTs should plan for a two-month long “Har GharDastak” campaign 2.0, during June-July, with detailed district, block and village levels plans.

“The objective of the ‘Har GharDastak2.0’ Abhiyan is to vaccinate and saturate the eligible population groups for the first, second and precaution doses through door-to-door campaign, with focussed campaigns on old-age homes, schools/colleges, including the out-of-school children (for focussed coverage of children aged 12-18), prisons, brick kilns, etc,’’ he stated.

Also, the sub-optimal coverage of those aged 60 with the precaution dose that renders them vulnerable, along with considerably slower speed of coverage in the 12-14 years cohort, was pointed out. The States were urged to undertake effective monitoring with micro-plans based on due lists of all eligible beneficiaries. They were asked to review the administration of the precaution dose to 18-59 years age group with private hospitals on a regular basis.

Mr. Bhushan stressed on a clear and effective communication strategy for increasing the pace of the nationwide vaccination. He pointed out that customised regional communication best practices had yielded appreciable results in India’s highly commendable COVID-19 coverage of over 191 crore doses. The focus on regional influencers, community leaders, innovative campaigns, etc., was also highlighted.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 5:39:51 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/vaccination-centres-must-not-insist-on-any-document-of-foreign-travel-for-precaution-dose/article65439272.ece