Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during a meeting with chief ministers of States over the Covid-19 situation.(ANI Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during a meeting with chief ministers of States over the Covid-19 situation.(ANI Photo)

Centre asks CMs to form vaccination panel, identify the vulnerable. Most say they are ready

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray took an indirect dig at the BJP during the meeting with PM Narendra Modi over the party’s protests over reopening of temples in the state.
By HT Correspondents | Edited by Abhinav Sahay | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 06:34 PM IST

The Centre asked states to form high level committee to prepare a roadmap for administering Covid vaccines to people at village level by creating a robust cold chain infrastructure and identification of the vulnerable groups for first four stages of the Covid immunization. The direction came during a meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with select chief ministers, officials in multiple states said.

State chief ministers on Tuesday informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they were ready for the distribution of Covid vaccines with the presence of a robust cold chain infrastructure and identification of frontline health workers. A few other CMs sought immediate release of Goods and Service Tax (GST) and additional funds to strengthen health infrastructure to cope up with the increasing number of Covid cases.

PM Modi had called a meeting of chief ministers to assess the Covid situation on ground in view of the rising cases and to discuss the plan for rollout of Covid vaccination across the country. The PM also said that due to the ‘coordinated’ efforts, the pandemic situation in India is under much control.

The Centre plans to start the Covid vaccination in the first half of 2021 and for this it has prepared a detailed plan and the PM asked the state governments to submit their detailed plans as early as possible.

The first batch of Covid vaccine being developed by Serum Institute of India is expected in India by January end or early February, Adar Poonawalla, managing director of Serum Institute of India had said at HT Leadership Summit’s virtual session on Thursday.

On Monday, drug-maker AstraZeneca, which has tied up with the Serum Institute for mass manufacturing of the drug, said its Covid-19 vaccine showed efficiency between 70-90% depending on the dosage taken. Last week, some other drug companies had claimed efficiency up to 90% for their vaccines. On Tuesday, Russian government in a statement said that its Covid vaccine Sputnik was 95% effective.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath informed the PM that his state was engaged in creating a robust cold-chain maintenance infrastructure and systems for the prospective Covid vaccination drive.

The CM also said that the state will have Covid vaccinators, which will be trained by the state health department. He said he has directed officials to put in place all arrangements for cold-chain maintenance by December 15.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the state was doing 100% testing by RT-PCR—considered the gold standard of Covid testing--- and the testing has increased from 18,000 samples per day to over 30,000. He added that the hospital infrastructure has been strengthened with addition of oxygen generation plants, laying oxygen pipelines, purchase of oxygen concentration plants and increase in intensive care unit (ICU) and oxygen beds. The CM informed that the state was ready with the database of health workers to immunise them with Covid vaccine.

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who said the Covid daily case load in the state has reduced to 4,700-5,000 cases from a high of 24,000 in September, informed the PM that a task force has been set up in Maharashtra to formulate the vaccination strategy.

“We have been in touch with Adar Poonawala of Serum Institute, which is producing the shot for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. However, there needs to be clarity about the vaccination program in terms of availability, quantum, side effects, cost and the distribution. Our task force will deliberate on all these aspects in the state,” he said.

Also Read: PM asks states to share Covid-19 strategy, focus on bringing positivity rate down: 10 points

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami said the state has set up three committees to ensure smooth implementation of the vaccination drive and a digital database of Covid frontline workers was also being prepared.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said his state would submit a detailed preparatory plan on cold chain management and vaccination schedule.

“Our (1st) priority would be health workers and front warriors and secondary for those who are aged 65 or more with comorbid conditions. The discussions are ongoing,” Sawant said.

Also Read: Who said what at PM Modi’s review meet on Covid-19 situation

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat sought priority vaccination keeping in mind the upcoming Haridwar Maha Kumbh.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her state was fully prepared for the Covid-19 vaccination program and claimed it has tackled the pandemic situation better than other states. She also urged the PM to release the GST funds immediately.

“West Bengal is fully prepared with trained man power and required infrastructure, including cold chains for the vaccination program. We are ready to work with the Centre and other stakeholders to ensure a speedy vaccination drive for every one as soon as the vaccine is available,” Banerjee said, according to a statement released by the state government.

She, however, asked the Centre to release ‘adequate’ funds to fight the pandemic. “The dues on account of GST compensation stand at Rs 8,500 crore. The state has spent around Rs 4,000 crore for Covid-19 management. But till date, the Centre has released only Rs 193 crore,” she claimed.

He also said that political rallies must be avoided during the pandemic. West Bengal has reported 4.59 lakh Covid-19 cases till Monday with more than 3,500 new cases added on November 23. At least 8,072 infected persons have died.

Thackeray took a dig at PM’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, without naming it, for taking to the streets with the demand to reopen temples and said the politicisation may jeopardise entire efforts of containing the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the PM should instruct the political parties to not play politics amid the global pandemic.

“Prime minister or union home minister should convene a joint meeting of all political parties to deliberate with them about the seriousness of the pandemic. …we have been appealing to people to follow the Covid-19 protocol by maintaining distance, wearing masks, but a few political parties have been resorting to the streets with the intention of gaining political mileage out of the challenge,” he said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the PM to allow admission of Covid patients at Central government hospitals in the capital and also sought immediate release of funds for Covid.

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh could not participate as he was ill.

(With input from state bureaus)

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