In the last meeting with the Chief Ministers, Prime Minister Modi said that the Central Government will bear the expenses of vaccination of 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called a meeting of Chief Ministers on Wednesday amid rising cases of coronavirus in many states of the country. This meeting will start at 12.30 pm. It is believed that PM Modi can take feedback from the Chief Ministers on the state of Coronavirus in their states, the situation of vaccination and the efforts being made to control the infection.
PM Modi also held talks with the Chief Ministers in January, before the vaccination drive started in the country. They will also decide on strict restrictions across the country.
A Health Ministry official said that we have prepared for every aspect related to the meeting. Dr. Sunila Garg, Public Health Expert and Advisor of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that vaccination coverage and increasing cases of coronavirus are a matter of concern at the moment. This program has slowed down due to people’s hesitation for vaccination. Secondly, the increasing number of cases in the country are pointing towards the second wave.
Both issues are likely to be raised in the meeting. Based on the review, some decisions can be taken to improve the vaccination program. The government’s advisor on vaccination, Dr. Gajendra Singh, says that after the review, some instructions or recommendations are expected from the Prime Minister. This includes opening more vaccination centres and raising the age limit for vaccines from 60 to 50 years.
Deliberations on following 5 aspects
1. Vaccination allowed for all
Right now the second phase of vaccination is going on in the country. In the first phase, the target of vaccination of about 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers was set. In the second phase, its scope was expanded and it also included elderly and people with co-morbidities above 45 years of age. It is being speculated that in the meeting to be held today, a blueprint for vaccination of all citizens can be prepared.
It is also possible that some other categories like lawyers, teachers and journalists will be included in the frontline worker. Vaccination started in the country on 16 January. So far more than 3.29 crore people have been vaccinated. The number of medical centers can also be increased for this. It can also be agreed to apply the vaccine seven days a week.
2. Corporate companies’ participation in vaccination
After the lockdown has been removed, offices are being opened in many places. Employees of private companies are moving to and from the office in the face of Coronavirus threats. Given the risk of infection, companies are not even calling the entire staff. In such a situation, their functioning is being affected. The government may allow companies to vaccinate staff at their expense.
Recently, Mukesh Ambani’s company Reliance Industries had announced that it would provide vaccine to its staff at its own cost. Reliance Foundation chairperson Neeta Ambani sent a mail to the staff for the same. On the same lines, big companies of the country can also be asked to start vaccination programs. IT company Accenture and Infosys have also announced the same.
3. Vaccination on government expenditure
In the last meeting with the Chief Ministers, Prime Minister Modi said that the Central Government will bear the expenses of vaccination of 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase. In the third phase that started from March 1, the introduction of the vaccine to the common people has started. Right now the vaccine is being administered in the government hospital for free while in Private hospitals each dose costs Rs. 250.
In the meeting, the vaccine can be made free for all by including the states in spending for the vaccine. It may also happen that the entire cost of vaccination is borne by the central government. The responsibility of making arrangements for this can be given to the states.
4. Increase vaccine supply to more affected states
At present, due to Coronavirus situation in Maharashtra is the worst. The number of patients is increasing continuously here. On Tuesday, more than 17 thousand patients were found in the state. Similarly, Punjab, Kerala and Karnataka are also getting more than 1 thousand new patients every day. On the other hand, there are less than 100 cases found daily in many states. In such a situation, it may also be agreed to increase the supply of vaccine according to their need in more affected states.
5. Strictness and new restrictions for violation
The Health Ministry had also attributed the negligent behavior of people behind the rise of Corona cases in Maharashtra. After the reduction of corona cases and the introduction of the vaccine, people seem to become carefree. With the relaxation of the rules, cases of corona have started increasing again. In such a situation, the government may again take a decision on strict restrictions. This can include the imposition of penalties for not wearing masks and non-adherence to social distancing.
Elections are going to be held in many states. The government may also make some rules on election rallies. Weddings or other crowded ceremonies can be put on hold for some time. The time to open and close the market and the night curfew or public curfew can also be decided.