New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed all states to immediately focus on aggressive testing and micro-containment to break the chain of transmission of the second Covid wave.
The Prime Minister also appealed to states to achieve 100 per cent vaccination of the 45-plus population in high-focus districts and called for a “vaccination utsav” between the birth anniversaries of icons Jyotiba Phule (April 11) and B R Ambedkar (April 14).
What we have done is that we jumped to vaccination (as a strategy) and have forgotten testing. As the vaccines are being produced, they will be delivered…earlier, we won the fight without the vaccine. We won the fight when we didn’t even know if there would be vaccines. Today, we don’t need to create a panic in the public,” the Prime Minister said during his online interaction with Chief Ministers.
“From Day 1, I am seeing politics. I don’t open my mouth. I believe we have to serve the citizens. We have been given the responsibility. Those who are doing politics will do it. I will not comment. However, all of us should come forward to change the situation. We have to follow ‘dawai bhi-kadai bhi’ (cure and caution)… We have to focus on testing… Vaccination is a long-term and continuous process,” Modi said.
The meeting took place amid a heated face-off between the Centre and non-BJP-ruled states over the availability of vaccine doses. On Wednesday, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan singled out mostly non-BJP-ruled states, specifically Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, and accused them of “politicising” a public health issue and “spreading lies”, and not doing enough in terms of testing, contact tracing and ramping up infrastructure.
The Prime Minister, meanwhile, reiterated the vaccination strategy based on prioritisation of vulnerable populations. “In a single day, we have achieved vaccinating 40 lakh persons…The most resourceful countries also have set criteria for vaccination. We are not different from them. We are working towards achieving maximum manufacturing capacity. We have discussed vaccine development, vaccine stock, and wastage. You know about the quantity of vaccines that is manufactured; these factories are not established overnight. Whatever is available to us, we have to prioritise,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also stressed that doses are being supplied while keeping all states in mind. “To keep all the stock in one particular state is not the right thinking. We have to keep the entire country in mind and manage it. Also, an important aspect of Covid-19 management is vaccine wastage…it is my request to states to attempt 100 percent coverage of everyone above the age 45 years in the high focus districts,” he said.
It was in this context that the Prime Minister suggested a “vaccination utsav”. “We should run a special drive to vaccinate the maximum eligible beneficiaries and achieve zero wastage. If required, we can also increase the vaccination centres. I have also told the Centre to send as many doses as it is possible,” he said.
On demands for the youth to be vaccinated, Modi said: “…we want to strengthen the youth through vaccination, however, we should encourage them to follow protocols.”
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