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PM Modi reviews India’s vaccination drive, asks officials to involve NGOs to widen outreach

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday directed officials to take the help of NGOs to widen the outreach for vaccination against COVID-19. The direction came during a review meeting of the national immunization drive chaired by PM Modi.

Notably, 3.77 crore doses of the vaccines have been administered in the last 6 days which is more than the entire population of countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Canada. The total tally of vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 31.50 crore of which 61.19 lakh doses were administered on Friday, according to the Union health ministry.

So far, the Indian drug regulator has approved three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the country. These include Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik-V.

Several other foreign vaccine makers such as Pfizer and Moderna have also sought emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 jabs. However, they the US-based vaccine makers are seeking indemnity from any claim arising out of their vaccines, which the Indian government is hesitant in granting.

Growing concerns

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.

Around 50 cases of the Delta Plus variant have been detected in India, and studies are ongoing to test the effectiveness of existing vaccines against the variant. The prime minister’s office also pointed out that so far, 128 districts in the country have vaccinated more than 50 per cent of the 45-plus population and 16 districts have vaccinated more than 90 per cent of the 45-plus population.

 

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