New restrictions coming? PM chairs high-level meet to review COVID situation as cases surge

NEW DELHI: Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Indian Medical Association has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting that vaccination be allowed for all people above the age of 18 years.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections in India remained above 90,000 for the third consecutive day on Tuesday taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,26,86,049, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The country had a day ago reported 1,03,558 new cases. “At present, we are vaccinating the population above 45 years. In view of the rapid spread of the second wave of the disease, we suggest that our vaccination strategy be geared up with immediate effect and on war footing,” the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said in its letter to the prime minister.

The doctors’ body said that “we request following suggestions in the COVID-19 vaccination drive — all citizens above 18 years of age shall be permitted to receive COVID vaccination and walk-in COVID vaccination should be available for all, free of cost at their nearest possible place”.

The IMA also suggested that private sector family clinics should be included actively in the vaccination drive along with private hospitals.

Making vaccination certificate mandatory for entering public places and to receive products under the public distribution system, was also part of the suggestions made by the association.

The IMA stated that the pandemic’s second wave surge is reaching record highs and added that “vaccination against COVID-19 stands as a single evidence-based resource for us to restrict cases by raising the personal immune response and pave the way for herd immunity to decrease the severity of the disease”.

It said that availability of vaccination with all doctors and family physicians will have positive impact on the inoculation drive.

District level vaccine task force teams should be constituted with public and private participation to enforce mass vaccination, to monitor and mitigate adverse drug events, and to build confidence, the IMA suggested and added that it is willing to actively take part in it.

The doctors’ body said that in view of rising cases and as an measure to break the transmission chain, “limited period continuous lockdowns” should be implemented, “especially for all non-essential areas like cinemas, cultural and religious events, sports, etc.”

“Indian Medical Association assures and places its proactive support of its entire manpower and infrastructure facilities for rapid vaccination and stands with the government during this hour of crisis,” it said.