Frontline healthcare workers, elderly people and those suffering life-threatening symptoms and diseases will be among the first to get the Covid vaccine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during an all-party meeting called to discuss the coronavirus situation in the country.
“Our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavour of making COVID-19 vaccine. The world is keeping a watch on the cheapest and safe vaccine. That is why the world is watching India. The first people to get the Covid vaccine will be frontline healthcare workers, elderly people and those suffering life-threatening symptoms and diseases,” he said during the meeting which is being attended by about 12 leaders from prominent political parties.
PM Modi, who, last week visited India’s top vaccine hubs to personally review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process, assured that the country has the necessary infrastructure to manufacture the vaccine at a large scale. “The vaccine distribution and administration is given to a national experts group. Advice will be taken from them on a comprehensive and real-time manner. India has the facilities needed to manufacture the vaccine at a large scale. In fact, our preparation is better than most others,” PM Modi said at the meeting, which is the second such meet called by the government over the issue.
“Centre is in talks with state governments over the price of vaccine and decision regarding it will be taken keeping public health as topmost priority,” he added.
About 12 leaders from prominent political parties, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad (who is representing the Congress), Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Trinamool Congress) and Sharad Pawar of the NCP are attending the meeting. Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary is also attending the meeting. On Thursday, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary had written a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker demanding a short Winter Session of Parliament to deliberate the COVID-19 situation and Farmer’s agitation among other issues of urgent national importance.
Apart from PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan are present in the meeting. Parliamentary Affairs Ministers Pralhad Joshi and ministers of state in the same ministry Arjun Ram Meghwal and V Muraleedharan, who reached out to floor leaders for the meeting, are also attnding the meet, according to reports.
PM Modi has held four important meetings on Vaccine Delivery and Distribution related preparedness in the last two weeks.
Last week, PM Modi visited India’s top vaccine hubs in Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad to personally review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process. The visit, PM Modi’s office said, was meant to help him get a “first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens”.
While India has logged the second-highest number of cases in the world after the United States, it is one of the countries with the lowest deaths per million population globally.
This morning India added 36,595 fresh infections, taking the overall coronavirus case count to 95.71 lakh. The country’s Covid death count rose to 1,39,188 as 540 people lost their lives in this period.