BHUBANESWAR: With the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines affecting the inoculation process in Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday suggested to the Centre that they should be made available in the open market outside the government supply chain to benefit willing citizens who can afford to
“This will help governments to have a focused approach towards vulnerable sections of society,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Chief Minister said COVID-19 vaccines which have already been approved globally by credible agencies and governments should be accorded approval to increase supply.
He said that a few metropolitan cities which contribute the highest COVID-19 cases should be allowed priority vaccination with flexibility in age criteria as these are economic nerve centres of the country. Any lockdown in these areas will have an impact on the rest of the country in terms of labour movement, he added.
India has a huge vaccine manufacturing potential and the Centre and states should support units to ramp up vaccine production, Naveen said and added that as this is an extraordinary situation, the governments should run the extra mile in this regard. Odisha has till date administered about 47 lakh vaccine doses to healthcare workers, frontline workers and persons above 45 years, he said.
The Chief Minister said Odisha has a capacity to administer more than three lakh doses every day and there is also a huge response of people to get vaccinated. However, intermittent supply is creating a challenge in meeting the demand, he said and added that in this backdrop he had requested supply of 25 lakh vaccine doses for administering three lakh doses every day. “Even at full capacity it will take us 160 days to fully vaccinate the eligible population of above 45 years in the state,” he added.
Stating that at an appropriate time, adequate quantity of vaccines should be made available for the states to procure and scale up their vaccination process, the Chief Minister hoped that the Centre would be planning to scale up the vaccination drive to widen its scope. “I am sure with our continued cooperation India will be able to fight this situation and save people’s lives,” he added.