At a time when governments like Maharashtra are pressing the panic button on the vaccination process and making all kinds of claims, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his interactions with the Chief Ministers sought to address such approaches with his calm demeanour.
Earlier, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan addressed those claims of vaccine shortage and the demand for opening up of vaccines for everyone by explaining why the Centre is not doing so. Now, PM Modi explained the aspects of vaccination in simple language.
On Opening Up of Vaccine for Everyone
PM Modi said, “There is a limit on how much vaccine doses can be produced daily. It is not that we can set up factories overnight. We will need to prioritise according to the available stocks. Even the prosperous countries follow the prioritisation method in vaccination and India is also treading the way of global practice. You can study a bit. You are educated people and have all the information.”
Providing More Doses for Particular States
States like Maharashtra are demanding more vaccine doses, and that demand was repeated in the meeting with PM as well. Again, PM Modi explained the practicality of the situation by saying, “It is incorrect to think that we can address the problem by moving the stocks to one particular state. We need to think about the whole country.” He also stressed that a big part of Covid management is to reduce wastage of vaccines.
Measures PM Modi Wants for Containing the Virus
Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded that even before vaccines arrived, India was able to contain the virus. However, people and administration relaxed afterwards. He said that testing needs to be ramped-up once again and the focus should be on having smaller containment zones in areas where the virus is spreading. PM agreed with the night-curfew measures that many states have enforced, as it serves a reminder to people that Corona is not over.
Facts Back PM’s Practical Explanation
While it may sound alluring to say that vaccine should be available for everyone irrespective of age limits, PM Modi’s explanation about the limitation of vaccine production holds true in the light of facts.
As this report in Hindustan Times notes, “An analysis of production capacities shows that between SII and Bharat Biotech, which makes Covaxin, India’s current capacity is around 75 million doses a month, or roughly 2.5 million a day. Over the last week, 3.1 million doses a day on average have been delivered across the country.”
When PM Modi said we can’t build factories overnight, it matches with the concerns of Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla.
It is also to be noted that India has one of the largest populations of youth. So, before opening the vaccine for this segment, India needs to complete the vaccination of a population that is estimated to be at 33 crores that comes under the group of health workers, frontline workers and people above 45 years of age.