In a bid to intensify the fight against the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, India will observe a four-day ‘vaccine festival’ (Tika Utsav) in the country. It will begin on Sunday, and continue till Wednesday (April 14). The Tika Utsav is being observed with an aim to inoculate a maximum number of eligible people against the viral disease.
The call for the vaccine festival was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his interaction with chief ministers of all states and union territories on Thursday where he discussed the Covid-19 situation on the ongoing vaccination drive in the country. “Sometimes, it helps in changing the atmosphere.
The birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule is on April 11 and on April 14, there is the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb. Can we organise a ‘Tika Utsav: or vaccine festival and create an atmosphere of ‘Tika Utsav’?” PM Modi said in the meeting.
“We should vaccinate as many eligible people through a special campaign and decide on zero wastage. If there is zero wastage in four days during ‘Tika Utsav’, it will also increase our vaccination capacity,” he also said.
Several states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have ramped up their efforts to double inoculations and have appealed people to get themselves vaccinated during the four-day programme.
In Uttar Pradesh, the ‘Tika Utsav’ will start with 6,000 vaccination centres in the state. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath along with the Governor will take part in the Webinars on vaccination on all the days of the drive.
Neighbouring Bihar is likely to vaccinate four lakh people during ‘Tika Utsav’, according to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Mr Kumar has also appealed to the people to come forward for vaccination to contain the corona pandemic.
Mr Kumar’s counterpart in Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa called vaccine the “biggest weapon” in fight against coronavirus as he urged eligible people in the southern state to get vaccinated.
Vaccine is the biggest weapon available to us in this battle against Covid-19. I urge all eligible citizens to get vaccinated and also encourage people around you to get vaccinated.
Let us continue to stay protected by wearing mask and following social distance.
— B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) April 11, 2021
The drive is taking place amid states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra warning about fast-depleting coronavirus vaccine stocks.
While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his state had only five days of vaccines left, his counterpart from Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, has warned that vaccine stocks in the state will run out in 48 hours or less if the centre does not send the doses immediately.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also flagged the vaccine shortage issue, saying the national capital had between seven and 10 days of stock left.
Earlier this week Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta told news agency ANI there were only two days of supply left in his state, with around 10 lakh doses urgently needed.
Responding to the requests and concerns by states, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the country has enough doses and urged state governments to put an end to “fear-mongering”.
Eight states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala — account for 60.62 per cent of the total doses given so far in the country, according to the ministry.
Vaccination drive in India
India is the fastest nation to administer 100 million doses in 85 days, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. As of Saturday evening, the cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 10,12,84,282.
In terms of the number of daily doses administered globally, India continues to remain at the top with an average of 38,93,288 doses administered per day, the ministry also said on Saturday.
The US took 89 days to administer 10 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, while China took 102 days to cross the same number, according to the health ministry.