In the wake of COVID-19 vaccine shortage faced by certain states, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to all CMs for a consensus on centralised procurement of vaccines by GOI in view of challenges faced by states. He said that the only way to protect our people against future waves and provide them with a hope of survival is vaccination.
In his two paged letter to the CMs, Mr Patnaik wrote, "Over the last one year, Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected countries across the world and Most countries have witnessed multiple waves of infection." He said, "India is no exception and we have so far seen two waves of the virus infection, especially, after the second wave, people are very scared about future wever and variants."
Saying that every citizen in India has been affected by this pandemic in one way or the other he advised that the only way to protect our people against future waves and provide them with a hope of survival is vaccination.
The CM notified that countries which have focused on vaccination program have seen remarkable improvement in their Covid situation.
No state is safe unless all the states adopt vaccination as the top most priority and execute it on war-footing," he highlighted.
He suggested this cannot be a battle among the states to compete against each other to procure vaccines.
After the Union Government announced the Phase 3 of the vaccine policy and allowed for above 18 years and opened procurement to State governments and private sector, there has been great demand for vaccination from the citizens.
He said, "Many states have floated global tenders for vaccine procurement, however, it is quite clear that the global vaccine manufacturers are looking forward to the Union Government for the clearances and assurances."
Under the above circumstances, the CM suggested that the best option available is for the Government of India to centrally procure the vaccines and distribute it among the States so that our citizens are vaccinated at the earliest.
At the same time, the execution of the vaccination program has to be decentralised and states allowed the flexibility to determine their own mechanisms to ensure universal vaccination. For example, many hilly areas cannot access the Internet and therefore online registration has to be flexible, some vulnerable tribes can be given priority by the State, etc.
However, I would respectfully suggest that all the State Governments should come to a consensus on this issue for early resolution of this problem. We should act fast before any third wave comes and creates further havoc.
He concluded saying that after the independence struggle, this is the greatest challenge we have faced together as a nation.