Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik Friday, at the first Covid Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting of the State, sought the advice of top health experts of the country on strategy to tackle the future waves of the pandemic and on how to strengthen the healthcare system further.

Looking for experts’ suggestions, the CM said, “We need to fine-tune our processes the defeat the Corona virus with your advice.”

Eminent health experts and doctors, Dr. K. Srinath Reddy (chairman), Dr. Devi Shetty, Dr. Ramakanta Panda, Dr. Subrat Acharya, Dr. Lalit Kant, Dr. Mrudula Phadke, Dr subrata Acharya Dr. Datteswar Hota, Dr. E. Venkat Rao, Dr. Sanghamitra Pati,Dr MRPatnaik Dr. Ajay Parida and Dr. CVK Mohanty (Convenor) attended the meeting.

Addressing the meeting on virtual platform, the chief minister appreciated and thanked all the expert members for accepting the invitation.

The Chief Minister said that Covid-19 pandemic has devastated families, communities and economies across the World. For the first time, humanity across the globe are affected by a pandemic at the same time. It’s been more than a year and still there is no end in sight, he added.

He further said that in India, the second wave has caused so much turmoil that people are very scared about the future. They fear more variants and more waves. They fear the uncertainty. On top of it, the lockdowns and its effect on the economy, has caused great financial pressure on many families and businesses, he expressed concern.

The CM said that people today need the counsel of reputed respected experts like you to tell them words of wisdom and courage to withstand this onslaught of the virus and motivate them to continue the fight.

Speaking on Odisha situation, the CM said that Odisha has been able to provide timely help to the Covid patients and take care of their health care requirement to a large extent. We have been able to manage the oxygen support systems and even provided help to other states for their oxygen systems. We have been able to manage without our health care systems getting over overwhelmed, he added.

He further said that the current trend of the Covid cases is on decline across the state expect for a few districts. The second wave is beginning to recede, he hoped. We are focusing on vaccination and intend to utilise all resources to quickly vaccinate our people, he conveyed the resolve.

Expressing his concern, on the next wave, he said that all of us are concerned about the next wave and if it’s going to affect the children. If it’s true, then we will have to be better prepared since taking care of the children in the hospitals is a big challenge.

Expressing his support to the suggestions of the Committee, he said that our Government values the advice of this committee and assured unstinted support to take forward the strategies suggested by the Committee.

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. He said that USA has a large number of unused vaccine doses which they may not use. We may look for Astrazenica vaccines from USA, he added. He further said that Covaxine production in India will touch 7.82 crore per month by August and Covishield production to touch 10 crore per month. 250 million Sputnik V doses will also be available. Apart from these three, Novo Vax and Zydus Cadila may be available in future. He said that only Pfizer has been approved for children above 12 years. All other vaccines are studying on children. He also advised to make Covid data available for studies by medical students.

Dr. Ramakanta Panda said Odisha has the best experience in managing disaster. The virus 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

Dr. Devi Shetty appreciated the odisha Government for being the first State to announce free vaccine for the age group of 18-44. He said that vaccination is better than lockdown. The cost effectiveness of the vaccination is far far better than lockdown. He advised for priority in vaccination on the basis of occupation rather than age group. He also said this is the best time to conduct examinations as the cases are going down.

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 ..

Dr. Ajay Parida proposed to identify the vulnerable groups and vaccinate them on priority.

ACS Health P.K. Mohapatra made a presentation on the fight against Covid in Odisha.