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Efforts on to ramp up COVID vaccine supply

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday efforts were being made to ramp up the supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, and added that the Centre was trying to provide states with a 15-day advance schedule of the vaccination programme so they could prepare accordingly.

During a virtual interaction with state and district officials, the Prime Minister described the local administration officials as “field commanders” in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the second wave of which has hit the country’s health care infrastructure. He reiterated that localised containment zones, aggressive testing and sharing correct and complete information with the people were crucial weapons to defeat the infectious disease. “All of you have an important role in this war against Corona. You are the field commander of this war in a way, who give shape to the policy, and fight on the ground and take decisions according to the situation,” he said.

The interaction was aimed at receiving feedback from the states on the measures taken to reduce the spread of the infection, ramp up medical infrastructure and other initiatives taken by the administrations. The PM also told the administrators that they have the freedom to make changes to any policy announced by the government to make it more effective on the ground. “I want to tell you… if you think that the government policy at the district level needs innovation in the policy to strengthen it, you have the freedom to do so. If you think the innovation that you have done is good for the whole district or the country, it should be sent to the government. If you think there is a need to make any change in the policy, give us that feedback also without any hesitation because the war is such that we all need to think together and innovate together,” the PM said.

In the wake of complaints from states over the availability of vaccines, the PM said efforts were being made to ensure that the vaccination drive was strengthened and that a plan was underway to ensure that states get a 15-day advance schedule on how many vaccines doses are available. “Vaccine wastage at all districts must be stopped and optimum utilisation is a must,” he said, adding that all states must alleviate fears about the vaccines, which are a medium of fighting the pandemic. The PM also cautioned that while Covid-19 cases were going up in several states and down in some others, there was a need to remain vigilant even in places where the infections were dipping. “We have to stop the scale of infection from spreading by taking the correct steps such as testing, tracking, isolation and adopting Covid-appropriate behaviour,” he said.

Union home minister Amit Shah and health secretary Rajesh Bhushan were also present at the meeting with chief ministers from states such as Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The district magistrates represented Patna, Bengaluru urban, Indore, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Shimoga and Kolar.

Modi also called for more attention in rural areas as well as in far off places. “We have to ensure that there is health infrastructure to meet increasing challenges and increase in cases; this should be done on a priority basis,” he said. He also instructed the administrators to keep up the morale of those on the frontline of the Covid-19 fight and of those in home isolation. Hindustan Times