Bhubaneswar: Doctors and health experts have suggested to the Odisha government to go for massive vaccination as it is better than lockdown and any other measure to arrest the spread of COVID-19 infection in the state.
The doctors and health experts expressed their views at the first ever meeting of Odisha's Vaccination Advisory Committee headed by Dr K Srinath Reddy and attended by Dr Devi Shetty, Dr Ramakanta Panda, Dr Subrat Acharya, Dr Lalit Kant, Dr Mrudula Phadke, Dr Datteswar Hota, Dr E Venkat Rao, Dr Sanghamitra Pati, Dr MR Patnaik Dr Ajay Parida and Dr CBK Mohanty (Convenor).
Addressing the meeting on a virtual platform, Chief Minister Naveen on Friday appreciated and thanked all the expert members for accepting the state's invitation and giving their view on the subject. He said the people have a lot of apprehensions over the COVID-19 and the possible third wave which may also affect children.
The chief minister sought the advice of top health experts of the country on the strategy to tackle the future waves of the pandemic and on how to strengthen the healthcare system further.
"Looking for experts' suggestions, we need to fine- tune our processes to defeat the Coronavirus with your advice," Patnaik said.
The chairman of the committee Dr K Srinath Reddy advised on different strategies for advance planning which could possibly be taken up as per advice of the expert doctors.
Making a presentation on the COVID-19 situation in Odisha, Prof Venkat Rao made a comparison between the first wave and the second wave in the state. He said that Odisha has dedicated Covid hospitals to treat the patients and over ten thousand hospital beds with sufficient ICU facilities. He also said that two crore people in the age group of 18-44 need vaccination. And this is a challenge as Government of India is providing vaccines for 45 plus people.
Dr Lalit Kant spoke about the efficacy of vaccine available around the world.
Dr Ramakanta Panda said Odisha has the best experience in managing disaster. The virus is likely to stay for long like flu. He spoke on the importance of universal vaccination to counter the pandemic. He advised for ramping up the capacity, safe, clean oxygen delivery, especially the use of medical grade oxygen for black fungus.
He also advised for the decentralisation of health system and dedicated infrastructure like cyclone shelter set up to deal with calamities.
Dr Devi Shetty appreciated the Odisha government for being the first state to announce free vaccine for the age group of 18-44. "The vaccination is better than lockdown. The cost effectiveness of the vaccination is far better than lockdown," he said while advising for priority in vaccination on the basis of occupation rather than age group.
Dr Mrudula Fadke advised to focus on vaccination of pregnant and lactating mother.
Dr Subrat Acharya advised for focus on rural area and migrating population and IEC campaign for vaccination.