Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview spoke about how India's vaccination drive could shape up. He said that the distribution process would involve over 28,000 cold chain points, as well as a digital platform to enrol, track and reach out to beneficiaries. PM Modi also assured that when the coronavirus vaccine is made available, no one would be left behind and everyone would be vaccinated.
"I would like to assure the nation that, as and when a vaccine becomes available, everyone will be vaccinated. None will be left behind. Of course, initially we may focus on protecting the most vulnerable and the frontline workers," he said in an interview to The Economic Times.
He said that a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration has been formed to oversee coronavirus vaccine development. PM Modi, however, alerted citizens that the trials are still on and experts are yet to figure out what kind of dosage would be required per person, the periodicity or how it will be administered.
Talking about a smooth distribution network, PM Modi said, "On logistics, more than 28,000 cold chain points will store and distribute Covid-19 vaccines to ensure they reach the last point. Dedicated teams at state, district and local levels will see to it that the vaccine distribution and administration is done in a systematic and accountable manner." He further added that a digital platform is being created now that will eventually help in enrolling, tracking and reaching beneficiaries.
The Prime Minister spoke about India's preparedness and how it emerged as a leading producer of PPE and masks. PM Modi said the government realised early on that India depends on imports for PPEs. The situation worsened after other countries imposed lockdowns that led to disruption of global chains, he said. PM Modi said that India needed to quickly act on ways to become self-reliant.
"We followed a very focused hands-on approach, identifying and sourcing each and every raw material for this purpose. We worked 24x7 with the industry and state governments to meet the objective of making and procuring PPE Kits, N-95 masks, ventilators, diagnostic kits etc. Once these issues were sorted, indigenous production started and orders were placed on domestic manufacturers for procurement," he said adding that India is not not only meeting the domestic demand but also the demand of other countries.
PM Modi said that India delivered drugs and medical equipment to around 150 countries in the past few months.