PM Narendra Modi asks for maximum jabs, zero wastage during Tika Utsav
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for the maximum number of Covid-19 vaccine jabs to be given during the 4-day-long ‘Tika Utsav’ or the special vaccination drive, which he described as the “second war” on Covid-19. The drive kick-started from Sunday after it was first announced by PM Modi during a meeting with chief ministers to discuss measures to contain the second wave of coronavirus that has now surpassed the number of infections seen in the first phase of the disease in the country.
“The Tika Utsav marks the beginning of the second war against Covid-19,” said the prime minister. He also urged everyone to focus on personal and social hygiene while stressing on the importance of establishing micro-containment zones to combat the spread of the virus in a densely populated country like India.
“We should vaccinate as many eligible people through a special campaign and decide on zero wastage. If there is zero wastage in four days during ‘Tika Utsav’, it will also increase our vaccination capacity,” said the PM.
Tika Utsav was announced by the Prime Minister to intensify the fight against the second wave of Covid infections. On Sunday, India reported 1,52,879 new Covid cases and 839 deaths in the last 24 hours. India leads the world in the daily average number of new infections reported, accounting for one in every six infections reported globally each day, according to a Reuters tally. Daily cases have set record highs six times this week, according to data from the Union health ministry. Deaths have also surged, with the health ministry reporting 839 fatalities on Sunday - the highest in over five months -The total number of cases in the country now stands at 1,33,58,805 and death has crossed the 1.69 lakh mark. There are 11,08,087 active cases present in the country, while more than 1 crore people have recovered.
PM Modi outlined three responsibilities for every citizen in the fight against coronavirus. “Each one, vaccinate one, each one, treat one and each one, save one,” he said.
While several states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are aiming to double the inoculations during the four-day programme, the drive drew a lot of criticism from leaders of opposition parties. On Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Vaccine shortage is a grave issue, not an ‘utsav’.”
The country has administered more than 100 million doses since the middle of January, the most after the United States and China. But several Indian states have complained of a vaccine shortage, despite immunisation being currently restricted to only about 400 million of India’s 1.35 billion people. The Central government has refuted the allegations of vaccine shortage. India began its vaccination drive earlier this year in a phased manner and currently all above the age of 45 years are eligible to get vaccinated.
According to the data released by the Union health ministry, eight states- Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala- account for 60.62% of the total vaccine doses given so far in the country.