Health minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday urged states to understand the limited availability of vaccines and not create unrealistic and impractical expectations while ensuring judicious use of doses to minimise wastage.
“The government is making all efforts to ramp up vaccine production in the country. Vaccines are scientifically distributed among you and we both know how much you have and what is in the pipeline. Please understand the seriousness of this issue,” Vardhan said.
The health minister was holding a meeting with eight states that have been showing a higher number of daily cases, positivity rate and mortality. The states were Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Odisha, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand and Telangana.
He said vaccine production in the country would touch around 80 million in May and 90 million in June. “Vaccination is our big weapon in the fight against Covid19… India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of 17 crore (170 million) doses in 114 days.”
Asking states to prioritise the second dose, Vardhan said 70 per cent of their stock must be reserved for that. While 136 million have been administered the first dose, the second dose has been administered to only 38 million.
He said in order to increase the supply, the foreign vaccines which had been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or international regulators such as the USFDA, EMA, UK MHRA and PMDA Japan may be granted emergency use approval in India.
Also, in a presentation at the meeting, Sujeet K. Singh, director, National Centre for Disease Control, made a granular analysis of the Covid trajectory. Singh said the apparent shift of Covid19 towards lower age groups is driven by the fact that higher age groups had been vaccinated in considerable proportion by now.
India has recorded a dip in the active cases for the second consecutive day. There’s a decline of 11,122 cases from the previous active case load. Around 348,000 new cases were registered as on Wednesday morning against 3,55,338 single-day recoveries. “We have to keep up this pace with renewed and stringent focus on containment measures for addressing the present surge. Stringent adherence to implementation of micro-containment zones has helped,” the health minister said.
Vardhan said the government had supported states by providing them PPE kits, drugs such as Remdesivir, N95 masks and ventilators. “We will continue to do this. We are with you in your needs. Make sure these things get utilised well,” he said while praising the states for their dedication and patience in their fight against the pandemic.