Centre will bear expenses for first phase of Covid vaccination: PM Modi in meeting with CMs

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In his first interaction with Chief Ministers following the recent approval of two coronavirus vaccines for restricted emergency use, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said that the central government will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase and suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise.

Describing India’s Covid vaccination drive as the world’s biggest vaccination exercise, which will kick start from January 16, PM Modi said over 30 crore citizens will get the jabs in the next few months in India against only 2.5 crore people vaccinated so far in over 50 countries in around a month.

At the meeting held over video conference to discuss the Covid-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out, the Prime Minister said the two made-in-India vaccines—Covishield and Covaxin— are more cost-effective than any other in the world and have been developed as per the country’s needs. He also said that four other vaccines are in the pipeline.

In a bid to allay concerns over the approval given to Covaxin without the availability of efficacy data, the Prime Minister asserted that scientists have taken all precautions to provide citizens with effective vaccines. He said he has been maintaining from the beginning that the scientific community will have the final word on the issue.

He pointed out that the first phase of vaccination is meant for healthcare and frontline workers. “This is my personal suggestion and no one should take it otherwise. We public representatives are not part of it,” he added.

“Along with this, our cleaners, other front line workers, military forces, police and central forces, home guards, civil defense personnel including disaster management volunteers, employees involved in container and surveillance will be vaccinated in the first phase,” he said.

He said that coordination between the Centre and states in fighting COVID-19 is a great example of federalism. “India has completed vaccination dry runs in almost every district, which is a massive achievement,” PM Modi said.

In the meeting with CMs, PM Modi also urged states to ensure no rumours regarding vaccination get spread and social, religious groups need to be involved in this. “All States and UTs must ensure that rumours around the vaccination programme are not allowed to spread. Corporate competition and vested interests of certain lobbies within and outside country may be at work to fuel the rumours,” he said.

In India’s vaccination drive, priority will be given to about 3 crore frontline workers, followed by around 27 crore people above the age of 50 and others with co-morbidities. The country has also conducted two dry runs to understand the best way to administer vaccine shots and plug loopholes in logistics and training.





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