"Fix Weekly Days For Aggressive Vaccine Drives": AIIMS Chief To NDTV

Dr Randeep Guleria, chief of Delhi's AIIMS, said cricket stars, movie stars and politicians should motivate people to get vaccinated en masse.

India needs to have special days when vaccinations are stepped up aggressively, Dr Randeep Guleria said.

New Delhi:

India needs to build on the momentum of Friday's record-breaking vaccination and consider having weekly days to push the drive aggressively, Dr Randeep Guleria, chief of Delhi's All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told NDTV.

"We need to see how do we sustain this. This has been an ongoing process. We have to see how we reach a stage where we do so many doses on a single day. We will need to see how we get people to come in such large numbers," he said on NDTV's The Big Fight show.

"One challenge is to get people to continue to come and be motivated like they were today. We could do it like the pulse polio campaign, involving cricket stars, politicians, movie stars," Dr Guleria said.

"One could also fix a day in the week, two days in a week, where you can have this aggressive drive and make sure you can catch up in terms of the number of doses," he added.

Against a target of 2.5 crore vaccinations for Friday, India crossed the mark by over 10,000 and set a world record set by China in June of 2.47 crore doses.

The daily vaccinations crossed the one-crore mark for the fourth time in less than a month.

To stop a third wave of the pandemic, experts have said India needs to cover at least 60 per cent of the population with both doses of the vaccine by the year-end. This requires a vaccination rate of 1.2 crore doses per day.

Current projections show 39 per cent of the population will be fully vaccinated by December.

The government had announced a more ambitious target of administering 200 crore doses by December.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers like policemen started on February 2.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination began on March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with illnesses.

The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1.

The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.