New Delhi, 16 November 2021: “Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi Ji had re-iterated that achievements with regards to vaccination belong to the entire country and not the government alone.Involvement of all stakeholders working according to their expertise and capacity to achieve a collective goal is the very essence of democracy”. This was stated by Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today as he interacted with representatives of various stakeholders helping the Government in furthering the reach and coverage of COVID vaccination across the country. Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare joined digitally from her constituency.

Dr. Mandaviya noted that Jan-Bhagidari is essential for such a mammoth exercise like India’s vaccination programme. “India stood tall in COVID crisis because of the initiative of non-government organisations and civil society organisations who supplemented the efforts of the government to ensure that nobody went to sleep on a hungry stomach during the COVID lockdown.” He also noted their contribution in ensuring that 80% of the population and 40% of the population receive their first and second dose of the vaccine, respectively.

Giving example of developed countries whose health system and healthcare delivery have been exhausted with multiple waves of COVID-19, the Union Health Minister expounded the completion of the COVID-19 Vaccination Drive with 100% administration of both the doses as an immediate necessity to end the Pandemic in India.“We have to all ensure that everybody is vaccinated,” he stated.He welcomed all NGOs, political parties and citizens in the endeavour of providing vaccination against COVID-19 to the last citizen thereby protecting India from COVID-19.

The partners who joined the meet were exhorted to work towards generating community awareness and transforming the vaccination exercise into a ‘Jan Andolan’. Highlighting the importance of second dose in protecting from serious illness and hospitalization was flagged as an essential component of communication.

They were informed on the areas where they can strengthen the Government efforts with their own efforts: Dissemination of information on the campaign can be done through NGO/CSO social media channels, use of audio-visual content for posting and amplifying positive messages,invigorating advocacy with leading medical professionals at National/State/District level for positive messaging around COVID-19 vaccination, etc. They can dispel myths, misconceptions and doubts related to COVID-19 Vaccine, support on-site mobilization of beneficiaries, participate in State, District & Block Level Task Forces for overall support in planning and implementation of COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Dr. Mandaviya suggested them to identify an area according to their capacity and saturate vaccination among all the inhabitants there. He also suggested the distribution of attractive home stickers notifying completion of both doses of vaccines of the family members to encourage uptake of vaccine among the population

The partners expressed their gratitude to the Union Health Minister for the provision and supply of vaccines, information and awareness pamphlets, financial and technical resources for COVID management. They also shared the innovative steps being taken to ensure saturation of vaccination, especially in the low-performing localities: Akshay Patra Foundation had distributed 50,000 Raksha kits to beneficiaries and had converted a kitchen in Bangalore to a CVC; The Tata Trust had strengthened vaccination efforts in 2 districts using local PHCs as a loci; The Piramal Foundation had started ‘Surakshit dada dadi nana nani’ drive to exhort young children to get the elders vaccinated.Many organisations with international presence noted that their counterparts in other countries are yet to get their vaccine; they praised the government for quick development and scale-up of production of indigenously manufactured vaccines.

Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, Dr. Manohar Agnani, Addl. Secretary (Health), Vikash Sheel, Addl. Secretary and Mission Director-NHM, Smt. Arti Ahuja, Addl. Secretary (Health), Dr. Mandeep Bhandari, Jt. Secretary (Health) and other senior officials of the Ministry were present in the meeting.