Immunisation of over 70% of vulnerable population a must
Unlocking of the country has to be done patiently and guided by the number of vaccinations done for the vulnerable population, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Balram Bhargava said at the Health Ministry press conference on Tuesday. He added that currently India has just managed to suppress the second wave but it can resurface at any time.
“To open-up, areas have to clock a less than 5% positivity rate for a week and also over 70% of the vulnerable population should be vaccinated. There is no shortage of vaccination in India and we are among the select few countries in the world which are manufacturing vaccines. India will quicken its vaccination rate in June and by July-August we will be in a position to offer one crore doses in a day. The aim is to have the population vaccinated by December,” Dr. Bhargava said.
He added that for the unlocking process, community ownership is vital.
New norms for children
Also speaking at the presser, NITI Aayog member (health) V.K. Paul said the government is re-looking at COVID in children and new facts have emerged about post COVID infection including multi-system inflammatory disorder of children.
“We will be issuing a revised guideline to manage paediatric COVID and any post COVID complications. The infrastructure is also being geared up to ensure that we are able to cater to the requirements of children if that scenario arises,” he said.
Dr. Paul added that currently there is no change in COVID vaccination doses and there is no proposal to provide a single dose to people. “Also the question of interchangeability of vaccines is a matter of research. While there is possible usefulness to the regime, the possibility of harm cannot be ruled out either,” added Dr. Paul.
Faster insurance process
Meanwhile, the Central Government on Tuesday announced a new system of processing the insurance claims under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) —Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’.
“Claims will be certified by the District Collector and after approval claims are to be settled in 48 hours,” said a release issued by the Health Ministry.
The Ministry said States and other stakeholders had been raising the matter that the processing of the insurance claims was getting delayed. This latest order is aimed at cutting down delays and further streamline and simplify the processing of the insurance claims.
“Under this new system for approval the District Collector in each case will be certifying that the claim is in accordance with SoP of the Scheme. On the basis of this certificate of the Collector, Insurance Company will approve and settle the claims within a period of 48 hours. Further, for the sake of uniformity and prompt disposal, the District Collector will also do due diligence and certify the claims even in case of Central Government hospitals/ AIIMS/ Railways etc,” the release said.
The Health Ministry has informed all stakeholders about this new system which comes into effect immediately.
This new measure comes after the extension of the Central Government’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’ for one year from April this year.
The Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’ was launched in March 2020 initially for a period of 90 days to provide comprehensive personal accident cover of ₹50 lakh to all healthcare providers, including community health workers and private health workers drafted by the government for the care of COVID-19 patients and for those who may have come in direct contact with COVID-19 patients and were at risk of being impacted by it. The scheme is being implemented through an insurance policy from New India Assurance Company (NIACL) and the scheme has been extended twice so far.
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