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Naveen Patnaik asks PM to allow Covid vaccine sale in open market, relax age bar

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a special drive to contain Covid-19 through enforcement of protocol. (Arabinda Mahapatra/HT Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a special drive to contain Covid-19 through enforcement of protocol. (Arabinda Mahapatra/HT Photo) (HT_PRINT)

  • Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik in his letter to the PM has said that if the government allows open sale, it will reduce the burden on state governments
  • Instead of catering to all, states can, instead focus on taking care of the vulnerable sections, Patnaik says

New Delhi: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to expand the covid-19 vaccine supply chain, and allow the open sale of jabs. Patnaik has also urged the PM to lower the age bar for eligibility for jabs at least in bigger cities, so that the floating population of workers can be taken care of.

In his letter, the CM has said that if the government allows open sale, it will reduce the burden on state governments. Instead of catering to all the states can then focus on taking care of the vulnerable sections. Those who can afford the vaccine will not be dependent on government for jabs.

“Covid-19 vaccines may be made available outside the government supply chain in the open market so that willing citizens who can afford the vaccine can avail them. This will help governments to have a focused approach towards vulnerable sections of the society," Patnaik has written in the letter, a copy of which has been reviewed by Mint.

The Odisha CM has underlined that the "few metropolitan cities, which contribute the highest covid cases should be allowed priority vaccination and flexibility in age criteria as these are economic nerve centres of the country, and any lockdown in these areas will have an impact on the rest of the country in terms of labour movement."

Patnaik said that Odisha has the capacity to administer 300,000 vaccine jabs per day. If the state continues with full capacity, then it will take 60 days to cover all the people above the age of 45, the CM added.

Odisha is witnessing a renewed surge in covid-19 cases. In the past 24 hours, the state has reported more than 3,000 fresh cases.

Patnaik has also urged the PM that the Centre may accord approval to vaccines made by other countries to increase the supply of jabs. At home, both the Union and state governments should support vaccine manufactures to ramp up production, he added.

“Covid vaccines that have been already approved globally by credible agencies and governments may be accorded approval to increase supply. India has a huge vaccine manufacturing potential and the Centre and states should support units to ramp up vaccine production. As this is an extraordinary situation our Governments should run the extra mile in this regard," the CM wrote in his letter.

While extending his support to the Centre to fight the pandemic together, Patnaik has underlined that “at an appropriate time, adequate quantity of vaccines should be made available for the states to procure and scale up their vaccination process."

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