States informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday that they are getting ready for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine with a proper cold chain infrastructure while some of them said that they have started the process of the identification of front line health workers, who will get the shot first.
Ensuring that the vaccine against the coronavirus disease reaches everyone in the country dominated the discussion during Modi’s review meeting with chief ministers on Tuesday. At the meeting, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told states that the Centre was looking at providing vaccination to front line health workers in the first stage, police personnel and sanitation workers in the second stage, those above 50 years of age in the third, and those with comorbidity in the fourth stage. He asked states to provide database of people in these four categories to create a vaccination road map.
After the meeting, Karnataka home minister Basavaraj Bommai confirmed this and said that the Centre has asked each state to set up a committee under the chairmanship of the CM, which would prepare a road map to provide vaccines in every district and village. “Vaccine delivery will be linked to a digital id,” he said.
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa told reporters at the Mysuru airport that the PM asked them to make preparations for vaccination. “He also said to be on the alert to ensure Covid doesn’t spread.”
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath informed the PM that his government was engaged in creating a robust cold chain maintenance infrastructure. He also said that considering the vast population of the state, the government will have Covid vaccinators, and that the state health department will train them. On Monday, he directed bureaucrats to put in place all arrangements for a cold chain infrastructure by December 15.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that his state was doing 100% testing by the gold standard RT-PCR, that testing has increased from 18,000 samples per day to over 30,000, and that hospital infrastructure has been strengthened with the increase in intensive care unit (ICU) beds. He informed that the state was ready with the database of health workers to be administered the Covid vaccine.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray informed the PM that a task force had been set up for vaccination. “We have been in touch with Adar Poonawala of Serum Institute, which is producing the shot for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. However, there needs to be clarity about the vaccination programme in terms of availability, quantum, side effects, cost and the distribution of the vaccine. Our task force will deliberate on all these aspects in the state,” he said.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami said that the state set up three committees to ensure smooth implementation of vaccination, and that a digital database of Covid front line workers was also being prepared.
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said that his government would submit a detailed plan to the Centre on cold chain management and vaccination schedule. Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat sought priority vaccination during the upcoming Haridwar Mahakhumbh.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that West Bengal was fully prepared for a Covid-19 vaccination programme and asserted that her state tackled the pandemic situation well, even as she urged the PM to release Goods and Services Tax (GST) dues immediately.
She rued that the Union government was yet to release adequate funds required to fight the pandemic. “The dues on account of GST compensation stand at Rs 8500 crore. The state has spent around Rs 4000 crore for Covid-19 management. But till date the centre has released only Rs 193 crore,” she added.
“West Bengal is fully prepared with trained man power and required infrastructure, including cold chains for the vaccination programme. We are ready to work with the Centre and other stake holders to ensure speedy vaccination drive for every one as soon as the vaccine is available,” Banerjee said, according to a statement released by the state government.
(With input from state bureaus)