India will vaccinate all above 18 by Dec: Prasad
PATNA Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said it was the first time India was vaccinating its people with countrymade vaccines along with the developed world and claimed the country would be in a position to vaccinate all its people above 18 years of age by this year-end
Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said it was the first time India was vaccinating its people with countrymade vaccines along with the developed world and claimed the country would be in a position to vaccinate all its people above 18 years of age by this year-end.
Talking to journalists at his residence in Patna, the minister also took a dig at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “He shares a lot of wisdom on Twitter on Covid-19, but he should explain if he has taken the vaccine or not. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ensured vaccination against Covid-19 moves at a good pace. Indian scientists have made India self-reliant in this field, as the country is not dependent on foreign-made vaccines anymore,” he said.
Prasad said that Serum Institute of India was producing six crore doses a month, which has now gone up to 11 crore. “Similarly, Bharat Biotech’s production of Covaxin will also reach 7.50 crore per month in July and 10 crore from October, which is a big leap from just 1.7 crore doses at present. More companies have been roped in for production,” he said.
The minister said that from June 21, further fillip would be given to vaccination drive to carry it forward in mission mode. “Sputnik-V also got approval in April and with seven companies producing it, it will also contribute to the vaccine kitty. By December, the country will have around 200 crore doses, while we need 180 crore doses to vaccinate all the people above 18 years of age. We have already vaccinated around 27 crore people,” he said.
Prasad said India planned its vaccination in phases, prioritizing it keeping in mind the vulnerability factor. “First priority was doctors, healthcare staff and frontline workers. Then it was for people above 60 years, when Narendra Modi took vaccine to satisfy the Opposition, which was always asking why he was not taking it. Then it was for people above 45 years and now it is for those above 18 years,” he added.
Maintaining that vaccination in India was moving at a faster rate compared to developed countries like the USA, England, Germany and Canada (with a combined population of barely 52-53 crore), the minister said the PM announced free vaccination to people across the country after the states wanted Centre to take control after first building a narrative for decentralization.
“Despite rapid pace of infection spread during the second wave, India was able to control the situation fast due to war-scale efforts. Railways and Indian Air Force joined the efforts to deal with oxygen shortage. Now the focus is on vaccination and the PM wants that it carried out in mission mode. He is monitoring on a daily basis,” he said.
On vaccination of children, the minister said it should be best left to the experts.