Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 with a focus on children and pregnant women who missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IMI 3.0 will have two rounds starting from February 22 and March 22 and will be conducted in 250 pre-identified districts and urban areas across 29 states and Union territories.
"Focus of IMI 3.0 will be the children and pregnant women who have missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be identified and vaccinated during the two rounds of IMI 3.0. Each round will be for 15 days. Beneficiaries from migration areas and hard-to-reach areas will be targeted as they may have missed their vaccine doses during COVID-19," the health ministry said in a statement.
Mr Vardhan noted that IMI 3.0 will build on the gains of the previous phases of the campaign and make lasting gains towards universal immunisation.
Since its first phase, Mission Indradhanush has covered 690 districts and vaccinated over 3.76 crore children and 94.6 lakh pregnant women, he said, adding, "The present eighth campaign will target achieving 90 per cent Full Immunisation Coverage (FIC) in all districts of the country, sustain the coverage through the immunisation system strengthening and foster India''s march towards the sustainable development goals."
Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to all citizens of the country, the health minister said.
According to the guidelines released for IMI 3.0, there are 313 low-risk, 152 medium-risk and 250 high-risk districts.
"The country has successfully been able to contain COVID-19 and the drive for two indigenous vaccines is being carried out. With this, the importance of a vaccine has never been so strongly felt.
"Every year, the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) caters to the vaccination needs of 2.65 crore children and 2.9 crore pregnant women against 12 vaccine preventable diseases. Despite these efforts by all the states and Union territories, some children and pregnant women get missed out from this network," Mr Vardhan said.
Mission Indradhanush aims to reach out to every dropped out and left out child and pregnant woman. There has been remarkable improvement in the immunisation coverage, which is also evident in the NFHS-5 data as available for 22 states, he added.
On the massive push to provide affordable healthcare facilities to the last citizen, the minister observed that implementing large campaigns like IMI 3.0 even during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines is a clear indication of India''s health system getting stronger day by day.
"IMI 3.0 aims to reach the unreached population with all the available vaccines under the UIP and thereby, accelerate the full immunisation coverage of children and pregnant women," he said.
Vardhan also detailed the provisions in the Union Budget that lay high priority on health and well-being.