Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal this afternoon wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and gave him four suggestions on boosting vaccine production as he underlined the national capital has "paused the rollout" for the 18-44 age group due to a shortage of doses. "To protect the country from a third Covid wave, it's important to speed up the vaccination drive," he said in an appeal to the centre earlier today.
"All the doses that we received from the government (for 18-44 age group) have been used. A few doses were left, which will also be used by the evening. This is sad. We have written to the centre about this...as soon as we receive supply, we will reopen the centres," said the Chief Minister during a video address.
Every month, Delhi needs 80 lakh doses but it received only 16 lakh doses in May, Mr Kejriwal told the Prime Minister in his letter. "For June, our share has been reduced further to eight lakh doses." he underlined.
If the city gets 8 lakh doses every month, it will take at least 30 months to vaccinate the entire city, his letter read.
"It's hard to imagine how many more Covid waves will hit the city by then and how many more lives will be lost," the Delhi Chief Minister appealed to the centre.
Giving the four suggestions to the Prime Minister, Arvind Kejriwal said: "All vaccine makers in India, within 24 hours, should be ordered to manufacture Bharat Biotech's Covaxin to ramp up stocks."
Foreign vaccine makers should be allowed to rollout their vaccines within 24 hours, Mr Kejriwal stressed. "The centre should speak to international vaccine manufacturers, buy from them and distribute to states. States and union territories are fighting with each other," he stressed.
Some countries "have stocked more vaccines than they need and the centre should request these nations to give the excess to India," the Chief Minister further added.
International vaccine manufacturers should be given permission to manufacture in India, he underlined as his final suggestion.
Earlier this week, the Health Ministry said that the government has shared a forward plan till June 15 on vaccine doses and supply as it asked the states to prepare calendars on Cowin app, the government's digital platform for booking slots.
Over 1.6 crore doses are still available with states and union territories, an official statement this morning said.
India was hit by a deadly second Covid wave in March. In the last two months, the daily cases soared, burdening the hospitals. While Delhi witnessed a surge in cases and deaths too, the positivity rate dropped below 5 per cent for the first time since April 4 on Friday. The city has been under a lockdown since April 19.