Efficacy of COVID vaccines satisfactory, finds ICMR study as over 115 crore inoculated in India so far


NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday suggested that states and union territories can organise workplace COVID-19 vaccination, targeting people due for their doses, and also provide badges to employees carrying messages to encourage their unvaccinated colleagues to get inoculated.

Besides these, the Union health ministry, as part of its strategies to nudge those who are to be vaccinated, also advised involving vaccinated influential figures and community leaders in districts or villages to motivate people to get anti-Covid shots.

“Trusted individuals/community leaders may be identified and appointed as ambassadors. They may be oriented about ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ to provide sound advice on the importance of taking both the doses of vaccine and completing the vaccination schedule,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries posted in health departments in states and union territories.

The processes and incentives for these ambassadors, include assigning referral codes on Co-WIN for each one of them.

Through these codes every person they get vaccinated will be added to their tally at COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs) through Co-WIN, the letter said.

It said those who ensure full vaccination coverage will be recognised at the local level with certificates and will be felicitated at special gram sabhas or panchayat meetings.

“Individuals who have received their first dose should receive text and voice call messages in local languages or dialects, reminding them that they are due to receive the second dose of vaccine. These messages can be recorded in the voice of a local hero or ambassador,” the letter said.

To ensure that all eligible people are vaccinated at the earliest, the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 3 and this will continue till November 30, it said.

The ministry in its letter underlined that districts should identify all left-out beneficiaries and mobilise them to get vaccinated on a priority basis.

“Workplace vaccination should be organised for targeting people due for their doses. Clear signages should be displayed in an organisation for these vaccination sites. Further, employees at offices, organisations and other workplaces (private and government) may also be provided with badges having vaccination message,” it said.

The badges can have messages like ‘I am fully vaccinated, are you fully vaccinated too’ to encourage unvaccinated colleagues of employees to go for vaccination, Bhushan said in the letter.

Such innovative ideas or initiatives at the local level may further help in motivating people and mobilising the left out or dropped out beneficiaries, and help in ensuring that all adults are protected against the COVID-19 infection, the letter said.

The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 117 crore on Monday, the Union health ministry said.

More than 63 lakh (63,98,165) vaccine doses were administered to the beneficiaries till 7 pm on Monday, it said, adding that the daily vaccination tally is likely to increase with the compilation of the final reports by late night.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with the healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase.

The vaccination of the frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 years and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

The country launched vaccination for all people aged above 45 years from April 1.

The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 years of age to be inoculated against the viral disease from May 1.