Consensus at Pune COVID meeting: Need blanket vaccination for all above 18 years

As per the Central government policy, only health workers, frontline staffers, senior citizens (above age of 60) and persons above the age of 45 with certain comorbidities can get the vaccine jabs.

WITH the count of daily COVID detections inching close to 3,000 and the positivity rate going up to 17 per cent in Pune district, several medical experts, bureaucrats and politicians who attended Friday’s COVID-19 review meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar highlighted the need for a blanket vaccination drive in the district where everyone above the age of 18 years gets a shot.

As per the Central government policy, only health workers, frontline staffers, senior citizens (above age of 60) and persons above the age of 45 with certain comorbidities can get the vaccine jabs.

Health experts such as Dr Subhash Saluke, advisor to Maharashtra government on COVID-19 response; politicians including city Mayor Murlidhar Mohol and MLA Madhuri Misal and bureaucrats such as Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao submitted to Deputy Chief Minister Pawar that the state government should demand more vaccines and a liberal vaccine policy for the district so that the spread of COVID can be effectively curbed in Pune which is among the worst affected district in the country.

“Areas which are worst affected should get a priority in vaccination. We should convey to the Union government that since Pune has a high rate of positivity and among the worst affected in the state, it should get a preferential treatment in the allocation of vaccine, opening of vaccination centres and relaxation of rules pertaining to administration of the vaccines,” said Dr Salunke.

He said that with 208 vaccine centres active at present in Pune district, about 20,000 persons can get vaccinated per day, when the district capacity for daily vaccinations was much higher due to excellent private health infrastructure.

“If the Union government allows us to increase the vaccine centres as per need, we could start several hundred more centres at private hospitals, NGOs and the per day capacity can go up to 1 lakh per day. With this infrastructure, about 25 per cent the district’s population can get the shot by the end of April, provided we get enough vaccine supply. This will now only stop the spread of the virus now and also stop a possible third wave,” said Dr Salunke.

MLA Misal said that since the age group 21-40 years has emerged as having the highest infections (although low mortality), this group continues to play the role of the carrier of the virus. “If we can get this group vaccinated, the spread will slow down,” said Misal.

At the meeting, it was agreed that this demand will be conveyed to the Union government and planning agencies like Niti Aayog to get the city’s vaccination programme on the fast-track.

– Stay updated with the latest Pune news. Follow Express Pune on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can also join our Express Pune Telegram channel here.

Source: Read Full Article