Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting on Saturday to review the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the country, expressing satisfaction at the rate of vaccination but calling for the outreach to be widened with the help of NGOs, his office said.
“Officials gave a detailed presentation to the PM on the progress of vaccination in the country. PM was briefed about the age-wise vaccination coverage. PM was also briefed about the vaccine coverage among healthcare workers, frontline workers and general population in various states,” a statement from his office said.
“Officials apprised the PM about the vaccine supply in the upcoming months and efforts being made to increase production,” it said.
The meeting came amid growing concerns about the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus and an impending third wave, weeks after the second wave of COVID-19 left thousands of dead and unleashed unprecedented suffering.
New variants are a concern in India, where more than half the population is still not vaccinated. Only about 5.6 per cent of India’s adult population of 95 crore has received two doses.
The country has reported around 50 cases of Delta Plus, and studies are ongoing to test the effectiveness of existing vaccines against the variant.
“PM was informed that 3.77 crore doses have been administered in the last six days which is more than the entire population of countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Canada,” the statement from his office said.
Even though as a percentage of the population, the vaccine coverage remains low, the PM’s office pointed out that so far, 128 districts in the country have vaccinated more than 50 per cent of the 45+ population and 16 districts have vaccinated more than 90 per cent of the 45+ population.
“PM expressed satisfaction at the rising speed of vaccinations in this week and stressed that it is important to carry this momentum forward,” the statement said.
“Officers briefed the PM that they are in touch with state governments to explore and implement innovative methods to reach people for vaccination,” it said.
“PM spoke about the need to involve NGOs and other organisations in such efforts,” it added.
The Prime Minister asked officers to work with the states to ensure that the pace of testing does not go down, saying that testing remains a very important weapon to track and contain rising infections in any region.
Officers also briefed the PM about the rising interest in the CoWIN platform – the tech backbone of India’s vaccination drive – globally.
“The PM said that efforts should be made to help all countries, who have expressed interest, with India’s rich tech expertise in the form of CoWIN platform,” the statement said.