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Govt  announces free vaccination for all J&K people above 18 years

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Jammu:  Jammu and Kashmir will provide COVID-19 vaccine free of cost to people in the 18-45 age group, the office of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Saturday.

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting, chaired by the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha here at Raj Bhavan, wherein BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department; Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the LG and Sh. Simrandeep Singh, Secretary, DMRR&R were present.

“In J&K, we are committed to provide coronavirus vaccine free of cost to all the people above the age of 18 years. The government shall bear all the costs of vaccine procurement from the manufacturer,” the LG remarked.

The LG also expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for announcing a ‘liberalised’ vaccine policy, making all adults above 18 years of age eligible to get inoculated from May 01 and allowing state governments and private hospitals to purchase vaccines from manufacturers directly.

In line with the announcement, the J&K government will begin the next phase of the vaccination drive soon, where doses will be administered to the population falling under the age group of 18-45 years.

Pertinently, in the ongoing vaccination drive, doses are being administered to all citizens above the age of 45 years.

During the meeting, the LG impressed upon the concerned officers for preparing a comprehensive plan for the upcoming vaccination drive.

A decision was also taken to constitute a Vaccine Logistics Team for ensuring hassle-free procurement and availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the UT.

The LG also sought a detailed report on the availability of vaccine, oxygen supply, bed availability, and other emergency services, and directed the officers to remain sensitive to the evolving situation due to COVID, and to take appropriate measures to mitigate and contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Financial Commissioner of Health and Medical Education Atal Dulloo on Saturday chaired a meeting at the Civil Secretariat here to review the situation and the implementation of five-pronged strategy to tackle the surge in infections.

Dulloo impressed upon the officers for effective implementation of the five-pronged strategy — testing, containment, isolation and treatment, COVID-19-appropriate behaviour and vaccination — to contain the spread of the virus, an official spokesman said.

“We have to gear up all our efforts at all levels, only then we will be able to tackle the surge of cases. Testing has to be increased significantly at all designated facilities and bring down the test positivity rate in each district,” he said, addressing the meeting.

He said all the testing facilities have to make sure that the set targets are met on daily basis and installation of oxygen generation plants needs to be expedited which would augment oxygen supply to hospitals.

Calling for an increase in the pace of vaccination, Dulloo directed the officers to make all the necessary arrangements to accelerate the vaccination drive to the population.

“By vaccinating more people, we will be better equipped to fight the disease,” he said, adding that they have an adequate supply of vaccines in all districts.

He directed the officers that there should be no delay in the result of RT-PCR tests and directed the GMCs to make sure that they do perform 2000 tests each daily.

Regarding the containment strategy, the FC said that restrictions in the 127 containment zones have to be implemented fully, adding that testing in containment zones has to be increased significantly. He also said that the number of contacts traced for every positive case should be increased to 20.

Regarding the treatment of home isolation patients, the FC directed that they should be monitored regularly and necessary instructions passed to them. He directed the district authorities to fully activate their control rooms and periodical calls should be made to the home isolation patients on regular basis.

About the upgradation of Covid facilities at the dedicated Covid Health Centres (Category II) and Covid Care Centres (Category III), he directed the Deputy Commissioners to visit every facility and make sure that these facilities are in a state of preparedness to handle any emergency.

“We can’t lower our guard under any circumstances. We have to make sure that our Category II and III facilities are ready in all respects,” he said.

Emphasising the need for strict compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, the FC asked the DCs to take strict action against the violators and increase enforcement drives in their districts which would go a long way to prevent disease transmission, besides making a fervent appeal to people to go back to the basics and follow the norms of social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene and wearing masks.

Elaborating about the facilities, Dulloo said the facilities available with the department are satisfactory with three state-of-the-art Cobas-6800 testing machines to be installed in premier health institutes shortly. He gave out that there are some 600 Covid dedicated ventilators around J&K with only 48 occupied currently.

He said that 6000 category-I Covid beds are available with the hospitals including 10000 bulk oxygen cylinders and 3500 medium sized cylinders. He gave out that government is in a process of installing 36 oxygen generation plants with 23 to be made functional at the end of the week that will help in adding 2000 more oxygen beds to our kitty.

The meeting was attended by MD NHM, Choudhary Mohammad Yasin, Director General Family Welfare, MCH and Immunisation, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, Director Health Services Jammu, Dr Renu Sharma, Principal Government Medical College Jammu, Dr Shashi Sudhan Sharma, MD JKMSCL, Dr Yashpal Sharma, State Drug Controller, Lokita Khajuria, DG Planning (H&ME),  Satvir Kour Sudan, Surveillance Medical Officer (WHO), Dr Ravinder Pal Singh and Deputy Director Planning (H&ME) Aman Kumar Dogra.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang Kondbarao Pole, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Dr Raghav Langer, Director SKIMS, A G Ahanger, Director Health Services Kashmir,  Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, Principal Government Medical College Srinagar, Samia  Rashid, Principals of New Medical Colleges, Deputy Commissioners of districts and other officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.

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