PM interacts with CMs over COVID-19 situation, vaccination drive; centre to bear expenses for first round
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with chief ministers of all states to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out in the country, kicking off on January 16.
This is Modi''s first interaction with chief ministers following the recent approval of two coronavirus vaccines for restricted emergency use by India's drug regulator and the announcement of January 16 as the date for the rollout.
Modi further announced on Monday that the central government will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first round and suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise.
Interacting with state chief ministers, Modi underscored the enormity of what he described as the world's biggest vaccination exercise, which begins from January 16, saying over 30 crore citizens will get the jabs in the next few months in India against only 2.5 crore people who have received them in over 50 countries in around a month so far.
The prime minister has often spoken with state chief ministers following the pandemic''s outbreak in the country.
The two already approved made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines are more cost-effective than any other in the world and have been developed as per the country's needs, he said in his remarks in the meeting called to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out.
Besides the two vaccines — Covishield developed by Oxford and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin — four others are in the pipeline, Modi said, asserting that India's fight against the pandemic will enter a decisive stage with the vaccination roll-out.
India's drugs regulator has approved Covishield and Covaxin for restricted emergency use in the country.
On Saturday last week, Modi had reviewed the status of COVID-19 and vaccine preparedness across states and union territories at a high-level meeting where.
Modi has called it the world's largest inoculation programme and the first priority will be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.
More vaccines may be available when the exercise moves into the second round, he added.