Health Ministry Says “Gags” on Vaccine Stocks and Storage Data | India News

Health Ministry Says "Gags" on Vaccine Stocks and Storage Data |  India News

NEW DELHI: A letter from the Union Ministry of Health to all states and UT advising that data on vaccine stocks and temperature at all vaccine storage levels are “property” of the ministry and should not be shared without your Consent is called “a gag order” by public health activists.
The letter to the directors of the state mission of the National Health Mission dated June 4 said that the data and analysis generated by eVIN (electronic vaccine intelligence network) for the inventory and temperature (of vaccines) were “property” of the ministry and that it “should not be shared with any other organization, partner agency, media agency, public online and offline forums” without the consent of the ministry.
The letter added that it was “very sensitive information and to be used only to improve the program.” The letter detailed that the eVIN system under the universal immunization program was implemented by the central government with the support of UNDP and “is used to track the stock, status and temperature of the vaccine at all levels of vaccine storage. , from the national to the sub-district level ”.
All states are using the same system to update inventory and stock transactions. COVID-19 vaccinations daily, the letter said. “The caution against information sharing is certainly unusual, as is the word ‘property,” said a senior bureaucrat who had retired from the Health Ministry.
“People have the right to know and the state has the right and responsibility to inform people about how many vaccines have been received from the Center. How is this information confidential? “asked Chhaya Pachauli, a public health activist from Prayas.
Jan Swasthya Abhiyan’s Amulya Nidhi said it was against the principles of a public health emergency to issue such a letter. “If you hide data on oxygen supply, deaths, available beds, and vaccine stocks, how will you build public trust? Transparency in data also prevents corruption. “” Recently, there was a case of vaccine doses being diverted to a private hospital. If the data is not in the public domain, how will people know where the vaccines go? “He asked. Nidhi, adding that governments must be accountable to the public and not withhold data from them.


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