The government is making continuous efforts to scale up the supply of coronavirus vaccines amid the massive second wave of the pandemic in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.
The prime minister said this at his meeting with officials from several states and districts to discuss the coronavirus situation.
“The health ministry is continuously streamlining vaccination-related arrangements and processes,” Modi added. “Our endeavour is to provide the [supply] schedule to the states 15 days in advance so they know how to prepare.”
Modi added that vaccine wastage can be completely stopped if adequate practices are followed. “We can successfully move forward in the direction of optimum utilisation,” the prime minister added.
The prime minister told the officials that they are the “field commanders” in the fight against the coronavirus crisis. He added that localised containment measures, aggressive testing and providing correct information to the people were the weapons to tackle the health crisis.
Modi added that a lot of attention has to be given to rural areas in the second wave of the pandemic. “Your experience and skills in this field are going to be very useful,” Modi told the officials. “We also have to raise awareness in village and connect the people to better treatment facilities.”
The prime minister said that efforts were on to install oxygen plants at hospitals in all the districts of the country through the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations fund or PM-CARES. He directed officials to prepare for the installation in advance.
India has faced acute shortages of vaccines, oxygen, medical equipment and certain drugs amid the massive surge in coronavirus cases.
As many as 10 states have decided to float global tenders for procuring the doses amid shortages of supply from domestic manufacturers, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India. Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra had to halt vaccination for the 18 to 44 age group as the doses ran short.
On Tuesday, India recorded 2,63,533 new coronavirus cases, pushing the tally of infections to 2,52,28,996 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. India toll rose to 2,78,719 as it reported a record 4,329 deaths in the last day.