Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the central government will take over the vaccination drive completely from June 21. He said the eligible people will be vaccinated for free. He said the centre had given 25 percent responsibility of the vaccination drive to states due to their demand, but within weeks, they realised the difficulties involved in the process.
Top quotes from PM Modi's address:
- Two weeks into the month of May, states began to say that the centralised system (of vaccine distribution) was better. We will take care of the 25% work given to states. It will be implemented in two weeks. From June 21, we will provide free vaccines to states for those above 18.
- Only free vaccines will be provided (to states). But those who don't want free vaccines can get vaccinated at private hospitals. Private hospitals can still procure 25% of vaccines being manufactured by the firms. They can put an additional charge of Rs 150 over the set price for vaccines
- Every dose of vaccine is important. A life is associated with one dose. States will be informed about the number of doses they will be getting a week prior to the supply. There shouldn't be differences and debates over vaccines.
- A lot of demands were raised that the states should get rights for their own Covid management. We accepted their demands. States demanded vaccine decentralisation. Questions were raised on age group, questions were raised on why senior citizens were vaccinated first. After giving it a lot of thought, we changed the way vaccinations were done. So, we gave 25 % of the work to states. Now they have started to realise the difficulty the work involves.
- Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana extended till Diwali. The government is with the poor during this pandemic. Over 80 crore people will get ration till November.
- To produce vaccines at such a fast rate is a big achievement but it has its limitations. Vaccination first started only in a few developed countries. We started our vaccination drive based on the parameters set by the WHO. After taking recommendations, it was decided that the vulnerable population will be vaccinated first, which is why frontline workers, healthcare professionals and those above 45 were vaccinated first.
- The whole country was talking about how we are going to save such a huge population. In a year, we launched 2 made-in-India vaccines. Over 23 crore people have been inoculated so far. We can achieve success only when we believe in ourselves. We had faith in our scientists, which is why when they were doing their research, we prepped the logistics... We constituted the vaccine task force last year, when there were only a few Covid cases.
- The anti-Covid protocol is the most important factor in the fight against this invisible virus. Vaccine is like a protection cover against this...Imagine what would have been the scenario if we didn't have an India-made vaccine.
- Whether its polio or Hepatitis B, the country had to wait for decades. When the country gave us an opportunity in 2014, the vaccination coverage was only 60% then. It was a worrisome situation. As a solution for that, we launched Mission Indradhanush. We worked in mission-mode and in just 5-6 years, the vaccine coverage was increased from 60 to 90%.
- Whether they were ICU beds, ventilators, the health infrastructure was ramped up. During the second wave in April-May, there was an unbelievable demand for the medical oxygen. We ran Oxygen express, IAF and Navy were involved, the production was increased tenfold.