Given the emergence of COVID-19 variants with variable transmissibility and other public health implications, the Union health ministry is closely following the Covid trajectory globally and in the country, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
Funding support has been provided to states and Union territories (UTs) for health system strengthening to meet any exigency due to resurgence of cases in the country through National Health Mission, State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), Emergency COVID-19 Response and Preparedness packages, and PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.
She was responding to a question on whether the government foresees any new wave or variant of coronavirus in the coming future.
“Given the emergence of variants of COVID-19 virus with variable transmissibility and other public health implications, the Union Ministry of Health is closely following COVID-19 trajectory globally and in the country along with various expert committees,” the minister underlined.
In addition, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) of laboratories is taking whole genome sequencing of samples for detection of mutant variants of the virus, she said.
The health ministry provides requisite support to states/UTs to enhance preparedness and response capacities against the deadly infection.
On the progress achieved in vaccinating the complete population of India, Pawar said the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is targeted towards vaccinating all those above 12 years of age.
Notably, the cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 200 crore, covering 98 per cent of the eligible population in the country with the first dose and 90 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
In addition, over 5.06 crore precaution doses have been administered in the country.
A communication strategy is in place which is implemented by all states/UTs to raise awareness about safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and addresses complacency, vaccine hesitancy as well as sustains vaccine confidence, Pawar said.
The Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign is implemented across the country from June 1, 2022 to 31st July 2022, with an objective to vaccinate all those due for their second dose and eligible for precaution dose in those aged 60 years and above through door-to-door campaign.
The Government of India has been reviewing the pace and coverage of COVID-19 vaccination and issued multiple advisories to states/UTs to cover eligible beneficiaries with both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and precaution dose in 60-years and above age group, Pawar said.
Adequate COVID-19 vaccine doses have also been made available to all states/UTs to vaccinate all eligible beneficiaries.