Prime Minister Narendra Modi1 described state and district officials as “field commanders” in the fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday, saying localized containment zones, aggressive testing, and sharing correct and complete information with people are weapons to defeat the pandemic.
The prime minister also said that ongoing efforts are being made to significantly increase Covid vaccine supply and that efforts are being made to provide states with a 15-day advance schedule of the program so that they can prepare accordingly.
Interacting with them via video-conferencing at a meeting attended by district magistrates from 46 districts across nine states, Modi stated that they were free to innovate to meet their local needs and encouraged them to provide feedback on any policy changes.
Last week the Centre had pledged that over 2 billion doses of Covid vaccines would be available in India during the last five months of this year, Experts across the country have questioned the projections, calling them “impractical,” if not “impossible.”
The country currently produces only 2.3 million doses of Covid vaccine per day, but government projections indicate that this will increase by 50%.
V K Paul, member of Niti Aayog and head of the National Covid task force, had said in a press conference last week on Thursday that 2.16 billion doses of Covid vaccines will be available in the country between August and December, enough to cover nearly 95 percent of India’s adult population.
Those who have been following Covid vaccine developments over the years, on the other hand, have a major concern: how can production be ramped up so quickly!
But it’s not just the experts who are skeptical. In an affidavit filed with the Supreme Court last week, the Union government stated that Covaxin production per day will increase from 0.3 million to 3.3 million “in the next 8-10 months.”
And it’s not just these two vaccines whose capacity escalation appears to be difficult; most others, which are expected to be plentiful, have yet to even be developed.