Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik on July 16 raised the issue of COVID vaccine distribution and demanded an increase in the allocation of vaccines for the state to 95% with a reduction in the share available to private hospitals to 5%. The suggestions from the Odisha CM came in view of expediting the vaccination drive across the state as the battle against the second wave of COVID continues.
In a virtual meeting with PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and other CMs, Odisha's Naveen Patnaik enumerated that due to feeble strength of vaccine quota of private hospitals in Odisha, the lifting of COVID vaccines from 25% of hospitals' quota was undersized.
During the virtual meeting, reiterating an earlier communication the Odisha CM said, "We had written to the Centre to increase the allocation to the state government to 95% and reduce the allocation to private hospitals to 5%. This will help us in increasing the pace of vaccination in the state. However, due to the low presence of private hospitals in the state, the lifting of the vaccines from the 25% quota has been less."
While lauding Odisha's COVID vaccine drive's performance and its controlled wastage (among lowest in the country), CM Patnaik brought to light the dire need for immunising children ahead of the much-anticipated third COVID wave and its potential impact on kids. He voiced concerns and requested the Centre to roll out vaccines for the age bracket 12-18 years on utmost priority.
CM Patnaik said, "I would like to request that the vaccines for the age group of 12-18 years may be prioritsed and rolled out at the earliest."
Purportedly, Odisha witnessed disruption and shortage during allocation owing to a dearth of COVID vaccines. Earlier this week, the inoculation drive was temporarily suspended in 24 out of 30 districts as COVISHIELD doses fell short. As of now, 1,38,09,756 doses inclusive of 1,08,16,744 first doses and 29,93,012 both jabs, have been administered in the state.
Further, CM Patnaik stated that the current stock of COVISHIELD and COVAXIN were vividly inadequate to implement the liberalised and universalised vaccine policy announced on June 21. As against 3 lakh individuals that the Odisha government had promised to inoculate in a day, the state has discontinued the COVID vaccine drive.
Speaking of COVID infection reports, CM Patnaik stated the situation had improved considerably. On July 15, CM Patnaik-led administration announced stringent curbs and lockdown regulations in 10 coastal districts i.e. COVID centralised zones.
PM Modi on July 16 reviewed the COVID situation with CMs of six states (Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra) and emphasized "test-track-treat-tikka strategy" and maximum vaccination to combat the pandemic. While interacting with the CMs, PM Modi reiterated the Centre's announcement of a sum of Rs 23,000 crore emergency response package to fight the COVID crisis and advised states to utilise the relief package to strengthen the medical and health infrastructure while laying special emphasis on paying extra heed to the situation and management in rural areas.