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Accelerating Routine Immunization in India: Insights from Covid-19 Drive

Dr. Sanjay Kapur and Dr. Anuradha Sunil on why timely immunisation specially in children is the need of the hour.

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In the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing vaccination drive in India, the country's healthcare system gained invaluable insights into strengthening routine immunization programs. In this podcast at The Quint, we are joined by Dr. Sanjay Kapur, Managing Director at Jon Snow India (JSI) and  Dr. Anuradha Sunil from Indian Society of Agribusiness Professionals (ISAP) to learn more about the road ahead on vaccination and immunization. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Insights from COVID-19 Immunization:

Effectiveness: COVID-19 vaccination emerged as the most potent tool, contributing significantly to India's resilience against the pandemic.

Massive Reach: Surpassing expectations, the drive reached over 97% of the population, encompassing seniors, adults, and the youth.

Learnings for Health Sector: The drive provided crucial insights into routine immunization systems, leveraging existing infrastructure and expertise effectively.

Innovative Strategies: The campaign deployed innovative demand-generation strategies, utilizing healthcare workers, cold chain storage, and a well-established distribution system.

Role of MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation & Equity Project:

National Roll-Out Support: Initiated in August 2021, the MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation & Equity Project actively supported the national COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in 18 states.

Equitable Vaccine Coverage: Focused on ensuring widespread and equitable vaccine coverage, the project addressed supply chain logistics, service delivery, and vaccine demand.

Innovative Techniques: Employing innovative strategies like boat clinics, vaccination on wheels, and engaging faith-based leaders, the project targeted hard-to-reach areas.

Community Engagement: Efforts included dispelling myths through customized materials, media engagement, and involvement of community leaders.

Learnings Applied to Routine Immunization for Children:

Rapid Vaccine Development: Streamlining regulatory processes without compromising safety.

Supply Chain Management: Emphasizing robust supply chain management and last-mile delivery.

Community Engagement: Applying successful strategies from COVID-19 vaccination to address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.

Innovative Distribution: Leveraging methods like mobile vaccination units and community outreach teams for underserved regions.

Dr. Anuradha Sunil emphasized the persistent challenge of vaccine hesitancy, combated through community involvement and workshops. With JSI's involvement, especially through Dr. Sanjay Kapur, collaborations with the government have optimized vaccine delivery. The MOMENTUM Routine Immunization Transformation & Equity Project's adaptability and innovation have significantly improved routine immunization coverage, exemplifying India's commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of its children. The positive impacts include increased coverage rates, protection against vaccine-preventable diseases, and a more resilient healthcare system.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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