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Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  (ANI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI Photo)

Modi: Centre in touch with stakeholders on virus shots

  • It will be ensured that the vaccine for citizens will meet all the necessary scientific criteria, says Narendra Modi

The government is keeping a close watch on covid-19 vaccine candidates and is in touch with developers and manufacturers in India and abroad, foreign governments, regulators and multilateral institutions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

At a meeting with chief ministers and lieutenant governors of all states and Union territories on Tuesday via video conferencing, Modi also spoke of vaccine access, and the need to increase testing and reduce fatality rates.

“It will be ensured that the vaccine for citizens will meet all the necessary scientific criteria. Just like the focus in the fight against covid has been on saving each and every life, the priority will be to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone. Governments at all levels will have to work together to ensure the vaccination drive is smooth, systematic and sustained," Modi said.

The meeting was held to review the status and preparedness of covid response and management, with special emphasis on eight focus states—Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal. The modalities of vaccine delivery, distribution and administration were also discussed at the meeting.

“The priority of vaccination is being decided in consultation with states. The requirements of additional cold chain storages have also been discussed," he said. Modi asked chief ministers to ensure regular monitoring of state-level steering committees and state- and district-level task forces.

“Past experience tells us several myths and rumours are spread around vaccines. Rumours about side effects may be spread. Such attempts need to be tackled through spreading greater awareness, by taking all possible help, including civil society, students of National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS) and the media," he said.

Modi said India has faced the pandemic through concerted efforts and in terms of both recovery rate and fatality rate, the situation in India is better than most countries. He talked about expansion of the testing and treatment network and noted that special emphasis of the PM CARES fund has been to improve oxygen availability. “Efforts are on to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in terms of oxygen generation, and informed that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway," said Modi.

Stating that it is important to understand how the people have reacted to the pandemic, the prime minister noted that it can be broken down to four stages. “The first was of fear when people reacted in panic. The second stage saw cropping up of doubts about the virus when several people tried to hide that they had been afflicted by it. The third stage was of acceptance when people became more serious about the virus and displayed greater alertness. In the fourth stage, with increasing recovery rate, people have developed a false notion of security from the virus, thus leading to a rise in instances of negligence."

Modi emphasized that it is of utmost importance to increase awareness about the seriousness of the virus in this fourth stage. “The trend of increase in the spread of the pandemic in countries where its impact was earlier lessening, is being seen in some states as well, which necessitates greater alacrity and caution by the administration," the prime minister said.

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