Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday backed the demand to open Covid-19 vaccinations for all age groups, saying that every Indian deserves a chance to a safe life.

“It’s ridiculous to debate needs and wants,” tweeted Gandhi. “Every Indian deserves the chance to a safe life.”

Gandhi is the latest to raise the demand that the government should allow coronavirus vaccinations for all age groups. Earlier on Tuesday, the Indian Medical Association had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow all citizens above the age of 18 to get vaccinated. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray had also made the request.

However, the Centre on Tuesday refused to open up coronavirus vaccinations for all age groups, saying the aim was to cover the people who are the most vulnerable at the earliest. “The approach is that those vulnerable to mortality need to be covered soonest,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press conference. “The aim is to protect the most vulnerable. The aim is never to vaccinate whoever wants, but always on whoever needs.”

India is currently in its third phase of Covid-19 vaccination where those above 45 years are eligible to get the shots. Public and private hospitals have administered over eight crore doses, with most of them accounting for the first dose.

Three months after it rolled out vaccines, the country hit a grim milestone on Wednesday as it registered 1,15,736 cases of coronavirus cases, the most infections reported in the world in a single day since the pandemic began. The country’s overall count rose to 1,28,01,785, or over 1.28 crore. The toll went up to 1,66,177, with 630 more fatalities reported. The active caseload stood at 8,43,473. Cases are surging in states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka among others.

Wednesday’s single-day rise numbers topped that of Monday, when the country reported 1,03,558 cases in the first instance of the figure going past one lakh. On Tuesday, the tally went up by 96,982.

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