New Delhi: A ‘Tika Utsav’ or vaccine festival will kick off in the country from today with an objective to vaccinate the maximum number of eligible people against the coronavirus infection. The special vaccination drive has been initiated on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions and will conclude on April 14.
The Tika Utsav begins a day after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed that India is the fastest nation to administer 10 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines in just 85 days. Notably, the US took 89 days to achieve the feat while China took 102 days to cross the same number.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also tweeted a graph showing India as the fastest country to reach the vaccination milestone, calling it “strengthening efforts to ensure a healthy and COVID-19 free India”.
Several states like Bihar, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Prades have already made appeals to the eligible people to get themselves vaccinated in large numbers during the ‘Tika Utsav’, which will last for four days.
While some states claim a “shortage” of vaccine doses, the Central government maintains that a sufficient amount of doses have been provided to all the states but many of them have been unable to vaccinate all eligible beneficiaries.
Vaccination centres at workplaces
With the permission of the Centre, workplaces – both public and private – will organise vaccination sessions for their employees from April 11 in an effort to ramp up the inoculation exercise.
Importantly, only employees aged 45 years and above can get vaccinated, and outsiders, including eligible family members, can’t be vaccinated at such session at workplaces.
The government has also issued guidelines to support states/UTs to help organise these sessions.
What PM Modi said?
During his interaction with chief ministers on Thursday to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the country, PM Modi urged them to focus on getting people over the age of 45 years vaccinated, especially in the high caseload districts.
“Sometimes, it helps in changing the atmosphere. The birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule is on April 11 and on April 14, there is the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb. Can we organise a ‘Tika Utsav: or vaccine festival and create an atmosphere of ‘Tika Utsav’?” he had said.
“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,” Modi had asserted.
He has also called for making optimum utilisation of vaccination capacity.
“Let’s see how we can mobilise things from April 11 to 14 and there will be satisfaction of achievement. It will greatly help in changing the situation. I have also told the Indian government to provide as many vaccine doses as possible,” he said.