CM draws PM’s attention to vaccine shortage, seeks Rs 300 cr for Covid management
Bhubaneswar: With half of Odisha’s vaccination centres having halted activities for want of Covishield, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday drew the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the problem, and requested him to ensure that the State gets to stock up doses 10 days in advance for the inoculation drive to run smoothly. Naveen, while attending a meeting of chief ministers with Modi, also sought Rs 300 crore from the Centre for managing the COVID-19 situation.
“We have not been able to ramp up the vaccination drive due to low supply. We are currently vaccinating 2.5 lakh people every day, and have capability of increasing the number. We request that an initiative be taken to ensure that Odisha gets to stock up doses 10 days in advance,” he said. Asserting that the State has taken measures to make sure that vaccine wastage is low, and put in place an “efficient mechanism” to administer shots to all eligible persons, Naveen said the State has “reactivated” its system to tackle the rise in the COVID-19 cases.
Odisha Government wrote to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan recently, stating that 50 per cent of over 1,400 vaccination centres have stopped functioning due to shortage of Covishield doses. The Chief Minister further said that the coastal State had requested for Rs 400 crore under Emergency Covid Response Plan (ECRP), but received just Rs 146 crore. “In view of this new COVID-19 wave, we request that at least Rs 300 crore be released for Odisha to help the administration manage the situation in 2021-22,” Naveen said.
He thanked the Union Government for allowing States to spend up to 50 per cent of the allocation made under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for Covid-related activities during 2020-21. “The same guidelines should ideally be in force for 2021-22 as well,” he said, adding that the State would continue fighting the pandemic with all its might.