Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said wartime efforts are on to supply coronavirus vaccines to states on “a very large scale” in order to defeat the coronavirus pandemic.
Addressing district level field officials from various states via video conference, the Prime Minister said the Health Ministry is streamlining the system and process of vaccination. He informed them that as part of the strategy, attempts are being made to give a schedule of the next 15 days to the states in advance.
PM Modi emphasised that vaccination was instrumental for preventing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 infections and reducing hospitalisations and mortalities.
The government wants to accelerate the inoculation drive to cover 51.6 crore Indians by the end of July. The total number of people in the country who have been given the shots currently stands at 18.44 crore.
As part of this plan to step up the availability of vaccines, the government’s top health adviser Dr VK Paul has said, “We will have 2 billion doses in the next five months - made by India and used by India.”
This will include another 750 million of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India under the Covishield brand, as well as 550 million doses of Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech will be produced between August and December, Paul told reporters at a news conference.
The government has already asked some public sector companies to produce Covaxin and now as part of the rapid expansion plan to produce more vaccines, the move has been extended to private sector companies as well.
Some consignments of the Sputnik V vaccine have arrived in the country from Russia and are being made available as the third vaccine in the country along with Covishield and Covaxin. Sputnik V will also be produced in India from July onwards and plans are in place to roll out 750 million does a year. The single-dose Sputnik Lite vaccine will also be exported soon to augment the campaign.
Apart from this Zydus Cadila on Friday said that the company is planning to make five crore doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year. At present, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is in phase III clinical trial in India and production of the shots has already started. Government officials are keen to clear it for use as soon as possible.
The total number of people in the country who have been vaccinated has now gone up to 18.44 crore as of 8 pm on Monday. Close to 60 lakh of these are in the younger 18 to 44 years age group who have got the shots in phase 3 of the inoculation drive that has been ramped up from May 1 to cover all adults in the country, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.
PM’s directions to field officers
Meanwhile, PM Modi told the field level officers that they have a very important role in this war against Corona like a field commander of this war. He remarked that local containment zones, aggressive testing as well as correct and complete information to the people are the weapons against the virus.
At this time, the number of corona infections are decreasing in some states as well as increasing in several other states. So he stressed on the need to be more vigilant in the face of decreasing infections.
He emphasized that the fight is to save every single life and the focus should be in rural and inaccessible areas. He requested the officials to make the relief material easily accessible for the rural population.
He also said the convenience of the people increases when information of bed availability and vaccine availability are easily made available. In the same way, black marketing should be curbed and strict action should be taken against those who do so. Mobilizing the front-line workers by keeping their morale high was also important, he added.