Prep Cold Storage Facilities For Vaccine, PM Tells States in Review Meeting

New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today emphasized the need for both safety and speed in vaccine distribution, saying “whichever vaccine India gives its citizens will be safe on all scientific standards”. “Our priority is to make vaccine available for all. States should put in the necessary mechanism including cold storage,” he added at an online meeting with Chief Ministers of eight worst-hit states to discuss the coronavirus situation and preparations for vaccine delivery. While the overall countrywide figure has dropped below 50,000 for several days now, the situation in certain states — including Delhi — has given rise to concern. There is a need to increase testing, PM Modi said.

“Safety is as important as speed for us, whichever vaccine India will give to its citizens will be safe on all scientific standards. Vaccine distribution strategy will be chalked out in collective coordination with states. States must also start working cold storage facilities,” PM Modi said amid reports of the Oxford vaccine showing 90 per cent efficacy in late-stage trials..The vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India has promised 50 per cent of all doses for the domestic market.

Warning the states not to let any laxity creep in, PM Modi asked them to work towards bringing the positive rate to less than 5 per cent and the fatality rate to under 1 per cent.”We need to speed up our efforts to reduce transmission of the virus. Testing, confirmation, contact tracing and data must be given top priority,” he said.

“PM made it clear that in the first stage the vaccine will be given to the frontline health workers, in the second stage to the police personnel, sanitation workers etc, to those above 50 years of age in third stage and to those with co-morbid conditions in the fourth stage,” Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said.

Chief Ministers of eight worst Covid-hit states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — had attended today’s meeting.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said his state has cut out the Rapid antigen tests whose results are often inaccurate. All Covid tests being conducted in the state are RT-PCR and the number has touched 30,000-plus every day.  Rajasthan said it is also taking other precautions, including  a ban on crackers, law on mask usage, night curfew, restraint on gatherings.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attributed the current surge in Covid cases to air pollution and sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to stop stubble burning in the neighbouring states. “The high severity of third wave is due to many factors. Pollution is an important factor,” Mr Kejriwal said at the meeting.

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