New Delhi, Jan 11 (HS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a high level meeting through video conferencing with Chief Ministers and Administrators of all States and Union Territories to review the status and preparedness for COVID-19 vaccination.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister first paid obeisance to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on his death anniversary. He lauded the constant coordination and communication between the Centre and the States, and timely decision making, which has played a big role in the fight against the virus.
Prime Minister noted that the fear and apprehensions that citizens had at the start of the pandemic have now ebbed, and the growing confidence has reflected positively on the economic activities also. He also appreciated the State governments for working zealously in this battle.
PM Modi underlined that it’s a matter of pride that both the vaccines for which Emergency Use Authorization has been given are made in India. He highlighted that both the approved vaccines are highly cost effective in comparison to other vaccines from across the world, adding that India would have faced great difficulty if it would have had to depend on foreign vaccines.
Prime Minister noted that India’s vast experience with vaccination will prove handy in this endeavour. He said that the priority of vaccination has been decided as per advice of the experts and scientific community after consultation with the States. Health workers, from both government and private sector, will be the first ones to receive the vaccine. Along with them, safai karmacharis, other front line workers, police and paramilitary, home guards, disaster management volunteers and other jawans in civil defence will also receive the vaccine in the first stage.
Prime Minister announced that State governments will not have to bear any cost towards vaccinating these people whose number is around 3 crore. Centre will bear this cost, he added.
In the second stage, those above 50 years of age, and those below 50 years of age with comorbidities or with high risk of infection, will be vaccinated. Preparation for infrastructure and logistics has been done with all States and UTs, the Prime Minister said, adding that dry runs for vaccination has also been done across the country.
He further said that our new preparations and SOPs for COVID have to be linked up with our old experiences of running universal immunization programmes and conducting elections throughout the country. He noted that the booth level strategy used for elections needs to be used here as well.
After a person receives the first dose of vaccination, Co-Win will immediately generate a digital vaccination certificate. This certificate will also act as a reminder for the second dose, after which, a final certificate will be given.
Prime Minister said that the vaccination drive in India is also significant since several other countries are going to follow us. He said that vaccination for COVID-19 has been going on in about 50 countries since past 3-4 weeks, and till now, only about 2.5 crore people have received vaccination. India aims to achieve vaccination for 30 crore people in the next few months, he said.
During the meeting, Modi also discussed the spread of Bird Flu in nine States including Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra. He said that the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has put in place a plan to tackle the problem, in which District Magistrates will have a key role. He asked Chief Ministers of the affected States to guide their DMs in this endeavour.
He added that other States where Bird Flu is yet to reach should be on a constant vigil. He expressed hope that through proper coordination between Forest, Health and Animal Husbandry Departments, we will be able to overcome this challenge soon.