Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) suggesting coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination be opened to all above 18 years of age, adding steam to growing voices across the country asking for vaccinations for all in the wake of an exponential surge in new Covid-19 cases during this second wave.

“Vaccination against Covid-19 stands as single evidence-based resource for us to restrict the cases by raising the personal immune response and pave way for herd immunity to decrease the severity of the disease… 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 the vaccination strategy needs to be geared up with immediate effect on war footing,” IMA said in its letter.

The doctors’ body provided a list of suggestions to the government to curb rising cases.

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Some of the suggestions said that private sector family clinics should be included actively in the vaccination drive along with private hospitals, and vaccination certificate should be made mandatory for entering public places.

“District-level vaccine task force team shall be constituted with public, private participation to enforce mass vaccination and monitoring and mitigating the adverse drug events and build confidence. IMA is willing to actively take part in it,” the letter further read.

As a measure to immediately break the chain, the body also suggested that continuous lockdown be implemented for a limited period, especially in non-essential areas such as cinema halls, cultural and religious venues, sports grounds, etc.

The medical association also said it was concerned about people not following Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, even though the guidelines enforced for the test, trace and treat concept promulgated by the ministry of health was actively implemented across the country to break the chain.

“However due to the emergent complacent, mass gatherings without masks, non-compliance of Covid-19 appropriate behaviours and the deterrent mutations in the virus…Stern implementation and execution of certain pre-emptive efforts will prove the key to contain the fast spreading pandemic,” it said.

The association also reiterated that zero tolerance against non-compliance of Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, augmentation of infrastructure beds and oxygen availability, moral support and enthusiastic engagement of frontline health workers, ensuring adequate health care protective gears support, and strict adherence to evidence-based treatment protocols were the key factors needed at this moment.

“Indian Medical Association assures and places our proactive support of entire man power and infrastructure facilities for the rapid vaccination drive and stands with government during this hour of crisis,” the letter read.

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