Gandhi’s plea comes amid a standoff between some states and the Centre regarding vaccine doses. After some states alleged bias in distribution, the Centre hit back accusing them of “politicisation” and “spreading lies”. The spread of the disease, however, has been politics-agnostic. There are several indicators on which BJP-ruled states are performing as bad, if not worse, than states ruled by opposition parties.
Meanwhile, India is on alert following reports of AstraZeneca’s vaccine being linked to rare blood clots. The country’s top committee for post-immunisation adverse reactions is widening its review of data related to side effects following vaccination with Covishield and Covaxin to understand whether there are similar red flags.
In another development, Johnson Johnson has communicated to India’s drug regulator that it will soon begin clinical trials in the country. JJ is the only manufacturer with a single-dose Covid-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus in India Live News Updates: PM Modi speaks to CMs amid second wave of Covid-19
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the online interaction with chief ministers of states and Union Territories on Thursday, said aggressive testing and micro-containment should be the focus as vaccination was a long-term strategy. “What we have done is that we jumped to vaccination (as a strategy) and have forgotten testing. As the vaccines are being produced, they will be delivered…earlier, we won the fight without the vaccine. We won the fight when we didn’t even know if there would be vaccines. Today, we don’t need to create a panic in the public,” the Prime Minister said.
“From Day 1, I am seeing politics. I don’t open my mouth. I believe we have to serve the citizens. We have been given the responsibility. Those who are doing politics will do it. I will not comment. However, all of us should come forward to change the situation. We have to follow ‘dawai bhi-kadai bhi’ (cure and caution)… We have to focus on testing… Vaccination is a long-term and continuous process,” Modi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reiterated the vaccination strategy based on prioritisation of vulnerable populations. “In a single day, we have achieved vaccinating 40 lakh persons…The most resourceful countries also have set criteria for vaccination. We are not different from them. We are working towards achieving maximum manufacturing capacity. We have discussed vaccine development, vaccine stock, and wastage. You know about the quantity of vaccines that is manufactured; these factories are not established overnight. Whatever is available to us, we have to prioritise,” he said.
He stressed that doses are being supplied while keeping all states in mind. “To keep all the stock in one particular state is not the right thinking. We have to keep the entire country in mind and manage it. Also, an important aspect of Covid-19 management is vaccine wastage…it is my request to states to attempt 100 percent coverage of everyone above the age 45 years in the high focus districts,” he said.