The Himachal Pradesh government will seek nod from the Centre to include more categories of persons like bus drivers, conductors, teachers, media persons among others — who are in direct contact with masses and prone to catch and spread coronavirus infection — under the Covid vaccination drive.

The decision was taken in the State Steering Committee meeting for the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination drive meeting which was held on Wednesday evening under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Anil Khachi.

“The Committee lauded the performance of the state in vaccination drive and discussed the issues of sections of society as bus drivers, conductors, teachers, media persons etc who are in direct contact with masses and are considered more vulnerable to catch and spread COVID- 19 infection.

The committee directed to take up the matter with the Union government for permission to cover persons with these occupations in the ongoing phase of vaccination of frontline workers,” a state government official said. Khachi directed the Health department to ensure 100 per cent vaccination of the Healthcare workers and frontline workers with second dose who have been inoculated with the first dose.

Secretary Health Amitabh Awasthi detailed about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive in the state. Mission Director National Health Mission Nipun Jindal informed that 3,67,500 doses of Covishield vaccine has been received in the state in three lots.

He further stated that till 16th February 2021, 63282 Healthcare workers (HCW) and 20963 Frontline workers (FLW) had been vaccinated, resulting in an achievement of 76 percent and 41 percent respectively against the target. The deadlines for the first dose for HCWs and FLWs are 20th February 2021 and 1st March 2021 respectively, he added.

Jindal said the committee was further apprised that 2907 HCWs have been administered the 2nd dose as well.

“The vaccine wastage in the state has been 3.46 percent which is well below the permissible limit of 10 percent. The AEFI percentage occurrence as reported on application is 0.6 percent.

The state is undertaking regular IEC campaigns to counter misinformation and vaccine hesitancy and the cooperation from all departments is being received for the smooth implementation of vaccination drive,” he added.