The central government officials informed out that better and effective planning is required as 1.67 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses are still available with states and UTs. They pointed out that among all states, Kerala has zero wastage of Covid-19 vaccine doses.
“Till now we have provided 13,10,90,370 vaccine doses to states and UTs. On one hand, a state like Kerala has zero wastage of vaccine while on the other hand there are states that are reporting 8-9% wastage,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference. He added that out of the total consumption, including wastage, has been 11,43,69,677. Among all states, Tamil Nadu has 11% vaccine wastage followed by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Bhushan said that unutilised doses with states and union territories for administration is 1,67,20,693. He pointed out that the underlying problem is not vaccine shortage but lack of proper planning. “We have made vaccine doses available for states and UTs from time to time. As we informed earlier, bigger states receive a supply of four days at once and on the fourth and fifth day, we replenish the supply. For smaller states, we supply 7-8 days vaccine doses at once and on the seventh or eighth day their supply is replenished,” he said.
Bhushan has informed that each state government needs to determine at cold chain points how many unutilised doses are available. “In any state, the case might be that in one district more consumption is taking place while in another there is less consumption. Our request to state governments to ascertain where the doses can be reappropriated from,” the Health Secretary added.
Meanwhile, Kerala has also beefed up its restriction after the case is witnessing a steady spike in cases. The state administration announced that a maximum of 100 persons are allowed to gather at indoor functions and a maximum of 200 can gather at outdoor functions.
Also, there is a need for passes system where the event organizers can give passes to those who have tested negative for Covid-19 through RT-PCR/saliva test in the last 72 hours and those with a vaccination certificate. People with either certificate should be allowed to attend. They have said that this system shall be applicable for marriages, funerals, festivals, sports, arts and cultural events.
The state administration has asked organizers to ensure that no programme exceeds two hours. To ensure the crowd does not remove their masks at a gathering, the administration has asked packed food provision for guests should be encouraged instead of dine-in facilities.
The administration has made it clear that home delivery should be encouraged at restaurants as far as possible. Across the state, shops and restaurants can operate only till 9 pm with 50% occupancy at any given point. Movie theatres and hotels to operate at 50% capacity.
Shopping festivals and discount melas at malls are prohibited to ensure crowd control for the next two weeks. Religious leaders and district authorities shall encourage people to avoid gatherings (Iftar parties) when fast is broken during evenings in the month of Ramzan. The administration has asked buses to ensure that passengers are not standing and ferry passengers not beyond the seating capacity. The Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) shall take steps to ensure the same.
Places with centralized air conditioning system should restrict occupancy and strictly ensure Covid-19 Protocol (SMS) and thermal scanning of entrants. Based on evidence with focus, magistrates can impose restrictions under Section 144 in areas having a high Test Positivity Rate.