The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to urge the Union government to reduce by three months the gap for administering the precautionary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the current guidelines, nine months or 39 weeks need to have passed since the date of administration of the second dose, to be eligible for the precautionary dose. Registration for the precaution dose for healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with co-morbidities started on the CoWIN portal on January 8.
At a COVID-19 review meeting held on Monday, January 17, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy decided to write a letter to the Union government seeking to reduce the gap from the existing nine months to six months. CM Jagan opined that reducing the gap for precautionary or booster dose by three to four months would benefit frontline workers and those who provide emergency services, and also prevent many people from being hospitalised, state government officials said.
After studying the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the state, Jagan directed officials to focus on scaling up vaccination in five districts â€” East Godavari, Guntur, Kadapa, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam â€” which have the lowest rate of second dose vaccination. He said vaccination to the age group of 15-18 years has been completed 100% in Nellore and West Godavari, and it was 90% in five other districts and 80% in four other districts. He directed the officials to expedite the vaccination process in Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. He also reviewed the progress of construction works of new medical colleges.
Briefing the Chief Minister on the state of preparedness, the state health department officials informed him that they have arranged for 53,184 hospital beds for treating COVID-19 patients. They said only 1,100 people were hospitalised out of 27,000 active cases and only 600 of them needed oxygen support. The Chief Minister instructed the officials to make arrangements for availability of oxygen and medicines.
Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Krishna Srinivas, Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma, Principal Health Secretary Anil Kumar Singhal, Principal Secretary for COVID-19 Management and Vaccination Muddada Ravi Chandra, Finance Secretary N Gulzar and other officials were present in the review meeting.