A 'Tika Utsav' or vaccine festival will be marked in the country from today till April 14 at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to inoculate a maximum number of eligible people against the coronavirus amid a surge in cases. Several states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are gearing up with appeals being made to eligible people to get themselves vaccinated during the duration of the 'Tika Utsav'.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also issued an appeal to people to get vaccinated in large numbers during the 'Tika Utsav'.
On Saturday, the health ministry said that India is the fastest nation to administer 100 million doses in 85 days.
The US took 89 days to administer 10 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, while China took 102 days to cross the same number, it said.
The Prime Minister's Office also tweeted a chart showing India as the fastest country to reach this vaccination milestone, calling it "strengthening efforts to ensure a healthy and COVID-19 free India".
In his interaction with chief ministers to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive on Thursday, Prime Minister Modi had urged them to focus on vaccinating all those who are above 45 years of age in high caseload districts.
"Sometimes, it helps in changing the atmosphere. The birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule is on April 11 and on April 14, there is the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb. Can we organise a 'Tika Utsav: or vaccine festival and create an atmosphere of 'Tika Utsav'?" he had said.
"We should vaccinate as many eligible people through a special campaign and decide on zero wastage. If there is zero wastage in four days during 'Tika Utsav', it will also increase our vaccination capacity," Modi had asserted.
He has also called for making optimum utilisation of vaccination capacity.
"Let’s see how we can mobilise things from April 11 to 14 and there will be the satisfaction of achievement. It will greatly help in changing the situation. I have also told the Indian government to provide as many vaccine doses as possible," he said.
This should be our endeavour to vaccinate maximum eligible people during the 'Tika Utsav', Modi had asserted.
The daily count of positive cases reached new record highs in the last few days despite having dipped to about 20,000 a few weeks back.
While some states have flagged a "shortage" of vaccine doses, the Centre has maintained that a sufficient quantity of the jabs have been allocated to all the states and that many of them have been unable to inoculate all eligible beneficiaries.
'Tika Utsav' beginning of second big war on COVID-19: PM Modi
Asserting that the 'Tika Utsav', a vaccination drive between April 11 and 14, marks the beginning of the second big war on COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made several suggestions to people on tackling the virus and urged them to focus on personal and social hygiene. In a statement, he urged people to keep four things in mind, including "each one, vaccinate one", "each one, treat one" and "each one, save one".
Elderly people or those who may not be much educated should be helped in getting the vaccine, he said, and also asked people to help those COVID-19 patients in getting treatment who may lack resources or information.
By wearing masks, people can save themselves and others, Modi added.
He also asked families and members of the society to take lead in setting up micro containment zones in case of anyone getting the infectious disease, saying this is an important way to fight the disease in a densely populated country like India.
"Our success will be decided by how much aware we are about micro containment zones. Our success will be decided by us not stepping outside homes when not needed. Our success will be decided by that those eligible for the vaccine get it. Our success will be decided by as to how much we adhere to wearing masks and following other protocols," he said.
"Anyone eligible for the vaccine should get the jab, and for this the society and administration have to make full efforts," he added.
Pitching for "zero vaccine waste", he said it has to be ensured that not a single jab is wasted.
"We have to move towards optimum utilisation of the country's vaccination capacity. This is a way to augment our capacity," he said.
In these four days of the vaccination drive, targets have to be set at personal, societal and administration's level, all efforts be made to meet them, Modi said.
"I have full confidence that with this people's participation, awareness and fulfilling our responsibility, we will again be successful in containing coronavirus," he said.