Covid situation, vax drive status to figure in Modi-CMs meeting

The rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country and the status of vaccination is expected to figure in the meeting scheduled between Prime Minister Narendra Modi with all Chief Ministers on Wednesday, officials said.

The meeting, to be held in a virtual mode, is slated to begin at 12.30 p.m., where Modi will take stock of the situation and assess the progress of the country’s vaccination drive that began two months back.

Wednesday’s meeting will be the first such interaction between the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers since the government launched the vaccination drive on January 16. The Prime Minister held several such virtual meetings with several Chief Ministers earlier as well, with the last such discussion held in January ahead of the rollout of the drive.

Officials told IANS that the most important element of the discussion will be the status of ongoing vaccination drive, adding that mutations reporting around the country may also be taken up.

“We have prepared representation for every aspect,” a Union Health Ministry official said.

Dr Suneela Garg, public health expert and advisor to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said that two crucial matters at hand are the vaccination coverage and growing concern for rising cases of Covid-19.

“The coverage of vaccination has been slow so far, considering the hesitancy of people towards the vaccination. Secondly, the rising number of cases in the country, which is threatening the nation with outset of the second wave of Covid-19. Both of these situations are highly expected to be taken up in the meeting,” she added.

On the basis of the review, a few decisions to improve the vaccination drive could also be taken including the expansion of cut-off age as well as doing away with the comorbidity conditions.

Dr Gajendra Singh, public health expert and consultant to the government on vaccination, said that a direction or recommendation from the PM is highly expected after the review. “It can range from opening up more vaccination centres and there is a possibility to reduce the age bar from 60 to 50 years of those people who are not prioritised with comorbidities,” he said.

India on Tuesday logged 24,492 cases of Covid-19 and 131 fatalities in the last 24 hours. On Monday, the country had logged 26,291 cases of Covid-19, the highest tally recorded in the last 85 days.

Meanwhile, the vaccination numbers have crossed 3 crore after 30,39,394 jabs were administered on Monday, taking the total to 3,29,47,432, as per the latest update.