New Delhi: Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh today reviewed Vaccination drive with the Jammu & Kashmir government authorities at a nearly two-hour long meeting held in the Civil Secretariat here to evaluate the Vaccination targets achieved in the Union Territory so far and to discuss the roadmap planned for the countrywide “Free Vaccine for All” campaign beginning from tomorrow across all the States and Union Territories.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Additional Chief Secretary Incharge Health and Medical Education Atal Dulloo, Divisional Commissioner Jammu Raghav Langar, Principal Government Medical College Jammu Dr Shashi Soodan, Principal Government Medical College, Srinagar Dr Shamia, Director General Family Welfare and Immunisation Dr Saleem Ur Rehman, Mission Director Choudhary Mohammad Yasin, Director Health Services Jammu Dr Renu Sharma and Director Health Services Kashmir Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Rather.
A presentation was made during the meeting through which the Minister was informed that a target of over 76% vaccination has already been achieved in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and by June end, a target of 100% will be achieved for the age group of 45 plus and a target of around 50% for 18 to 45 age group by July end.
Following the impetus being introduced in the countrywide vaccination campaign from 21st June, the Minister was informed that by 15th of July, over 30% of the age group of 18 to 45 years in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir would have received vaccination.
Dr Jitendra Singh called for making the Vaccination drive more hospitable and friendly by introducing separate waiting and holding zones, and offering refreshments during the holding period of 30 minutes. He also asked for extending the drive-in vaccination facility at a large scale.
While briefing Dr Jitendra Singh about the current COVID management in the Union Territory, the officers present informed that every Panchayat in Jammu & Kashmir had been provided with at least one COVID Isolation Centre with 5 beds and also the availability of testing facilities. In addition, out of 20 districts of the Union Territory, 9 districts are in the Green Zone, 2 in the Orange Zone and 9 in the Yellow Zone.
Appreciating the overall efforts by the health authorities, Dr Jitendra Singh said, he was satisfied to note that after initial problems, the management and COVID care in Government Medical College Jammu had also fallen on track and the things have improved after intervention from different quarters. He said, the initial issues and apprehensions raised during the peak of the second COVID wave and the lessons learnt from this have a special significance for all, particularly the healthcare authorities in Government Medical College Jammu.
Dr Jitendra Singh noted that during the peak of the second wave of COVID, the positivity rate was much higher in the Kashmir division and also in the eight North Eastern States which were monitored by him, but in the Jammu Division, even though the positivity rate was less, the mortality rate was higher. This, he said, should provide a scientific inference for all the concerned to take a cue that healthcare preparedness in the Jammu division requires further improvement.
Emphasizing the importance of vaccine for all, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it is the responsibility of not only the government, but also of the civil society to turn the vaccination drive into a mass campaign. Giving all the credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the pre-emptive decisions and steps taken by him, he noted that on the very first day when vaccination began in the country, over six crore people had received the inoculation, which is more than the total population of many of the European countries.
What is often not highlighted, said Dr Jitendra Singh, is that India under Modi has the distinction of having one of the fastest pace COVID vaccination drives in the world, in spite of the constraints of a huge population of 135 crore and heterogeneous character of the nation.
Overall, Dr Jitendra Singh appreciated the Union Territory administration for having come to terms with the challenge, as a result of which the parameters of COVID management in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir stand next only to Kerala in the countrywide comparative analysis.