The South-East region of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for stronger collective efforts to curtail the virus transmission.
At the same time, they urged countries to plan for efficient roll out of Covid-19 vaccines as soon as they are available, according to a press release.
"Like the rest of the world, the Region continues to be at risk. To stop the spread of Covid-19 virus, we need to do it all – continued strong leadership; robust public health measures; clear communication and an engaged, empowered and enabled population - to turn the tide," said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of WHO South-East Asia Region.
"Vaccine availability is likely to be limited initially, hence will be important to clearly identify goals of national vaccination strategy," she added.
In the spirit of promoting fair and equitable access to the vaccines across all countries, WHO is proposing that countries prioritize at-risk population as they develop in-country vaccination strategies. Available vaccines should first be provided to priority populations and then expanded to others.
"The Covid-19 vaccination should aim at minimizing the societal and economic impact by reducing deaths caused by the disease," Dr Khetrapal Singh said.
Listing out nine priority areas for Covid-19 vaccine introduction and roll out, the regional director said, a national level coordination committee would be needed to oversee vaccination; an expedited regulatory pathway for approval of new vaccine; a technical advisory group to recommend prioritisation of risk groups; protocols on infection prevention and control measures to minimize exposure during immunization sessions; training plans for vaccine introduction; and monitoring systems to measure coverage, acceptability and disease surveillance.
Ensuring continued WHO support, the Regional Director said, "Together we must continue to strengthen the Covid-19 response by aggressively applying the basic public health measures, and also looking ahead and ensuring that we make full use of emerging tools to control spread, save lives and minimize impact."