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‘Frontline workers will be first to get Covid vaccine’, Modi tells CMs

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New Delhi, Nov 24, 2020-
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that health and frontline workers will get priority when it comes to getting the Covid vaccine when it arrives, while asking for better centre-state cooperation for a seamless and transparent distribution mechanism. The Prime Minister was interacting with chief Ministers of all states and UTs after addressing CMs of eight worst-affected states. However, he subtly expressed his displeasure over the politics being played over the issue.

The PM’s assertion comes in the wake of a slew of vaccine makers reporting reasonable success rates. The Prime Minister, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that it is the “duty” of the nation to vaccinate frontline workers first. He also stressed that the vaccine distribution system must be transparent and thus allay the fears of many Indians.

The PM is learnt to have said that the priority list will be created in three phases where health workers pressed into Covid duty will be the first to get the vaccine followed by police personnel, sanitation workers and the elderly population. And then, the PM is believed to have articulated, the vaccines will go to those with co-morbidities. The idea behind this is to ensure those who actually are in most dire need of the vaccine, get it first.

Meanwhile, the Centre has already sought a list for all states and union territories of frontline workers — doctors, nurses, medical assistants among others — in their respective areas.

He has asked states to start working on cold storage facilities for the vaccine, during the course of the virtual meeting today.

To a query by a chief minister during the meeting about the status of the vaccine, Prime Minister Modi is believed to have said that the distribution system needs to be in place before the vaccine arrives. He refused to give any false hope while assuring that the scientists are doing their best. He also said no price for the vaccine has been decided upon, as yet. He said India has options but a decision will be taken on what he called ‘scientific basis’.

PM Modi also sought cooperation between the Centre and the states in the fight against Coronavirus. Sources say he expressed his displeasure about politics over the same.

“I urge all the states to send their detailed plans soon on how they plan to take vaccines to the lowest levels. It will help us make informed decisions as your experiences are valuable,” said the Prime Minister, while pitching for greater federal cooperation.

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who is known to be a vocal critic of the government, who raised the issue of GST dues that the Centre owes in the first leg of the meeting, expressed willingness to cooperate with regard to the vaccination distribution system. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy said a task force has been formed by the state government.

However, the Prime Minister warned against the carelessness that caused a recent spike in many states. He reiterated that caution needs to be at its best, till the vaccines are here, rolled out and administered. He added that the government is making efforts to make oxygen and ventilators “two key demands” in the fight against the pandemic available. In this direction, efforts are afoot to establish a slew of oxygen generation plants in India, he added. (Agency)

PM-CM meet: Kejriwal blames Coronavirus spike on pollution, Mamata demands GST dues

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