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Covid vaccine, health infra talk set the tone for 'Mann Ki Baat'

Nivedita Mookerji | 25/05/2021 | 3 hours ago

Many citizens have expressed anguish over weak healthcare infrastructure and slow vaccination to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his monthly radio show 'Mann Ki Baat' scheduled for May 30. More than 7,000 submissions have already come in for the 77th edition, coinciding with seven years of the Modi government. Along with complaints and disappointments are suggestions to scale up hospital facilities, vaccinate faster and have daily press briefings by the PM on the Covid19 situation in the country.

"Please build government hospitals all over India and even in small villages…. focus on health infrastructure... everyone is blaming the government about medical facilities and infrastructure, so please focus on health infrastructure," writes a young professional. The absence of confidence in the healthcare system is making things worse and therefore the need of the day was to focus on the infrastructure, according to another submission.

On vaccination, there's been a rush of letters complaining about unavailability of jabs. "Whenever we search the apps for vaccination centres, the message that flashes is "no centre available"," says a person looking for a slot in the 18 to 44 age group in Mumbai. "Mr Prime Minister Sir, I request you to kindly help," the person further said. Not everyone is so kind though, with some expressing their regret that the government has not returned the favour of their vote in 2014 and 2019. And some others have directed the government to "send sufficient vaccine doses immediately".

Fearing that a third wave may hit children hard, letters have come in asking the PM to "arrange for a speedy vaccination drive across all age groups. If we can't produce the required quantity, I think we should import it… Even if it's expensive, nothing is bigger than life and as citizens we all should come forward to spend for vaccination". There's another suggestion that the vaccination registration page should give the option of paying for vaccine. “Those who can pay will pay for the vaccine and those who can’t will skip that checkbox."

Children getting hit in a possible third wave is the basis for many citizens telling Modi that "it would be a disastrous blunder to conduct class 12 CBSE exams because you will be exposing around 15 million children to the Covid virus". The youth of India will never be able to forgive this mammoth blunder, a Delhi-based parent has written.

On vaccine procurement, submissions have been made on how global tenders floated by states didn’t work as Pfizer and Moderna want to deal directly with the Centre. "So central government must import and distribute to states," states one submission.

Against vaccine hesitancy also, there are strong words. "Make vaccination compulsory for all, take action against those criticising vaccination" is among the many views on the matter. Then there are others asking the government to "close down" all channels except national broadcaster Doordarshan as negative news is making Indians more fearful during the pandemic.

There's wish and hope as well that the 75th Independence Day in 2022 will mean "freedom from coronavirus and mask". For that, the entire population must be vaccinated by then, many have stressed.

Before that, there's a call for the "PM to address a press conference everyday so that people of India can be aware about all decisions that the central government is taking." And since Covid is a war-like situation, there are letters urging Modi to hand over the vaccination project to the armed forces.

Going by the mood, the PM could well focus on Covid and vaccination this Sunday, two days after the citizen submission lines close for the radio show.

🛑Panacea Biotec, one of the leading Indian pharmaceutical producers in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on May 24, 2021, launched the production of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine in India, stated a joint statement issued by the companies. “The first batch of the vaccine produced at Panacea Biotec’s facilities at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India will be shipped to Russia’s Gamaleya Center for quality control,” the Panacea and RDIF said in a press statement. The full production is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021, the statement further mentioned. Panacea Biotec’s facilities are WHO compliant with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. Kirill Dmitriev, CEO RDIF called the launch of the production Sputnik V vaccine in India in partnership with Panacea Biotec as an important step in helping the country (India) fight the coronavirus pandemic. Dr Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Panacea Biotec also added, “Together with RDIF, we hope to bring normalcy back to people across the country.”

In April 2021, Panacea and the RDIF had announced their plan to produce 100 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine per year. •Sputnik V, a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, has been made by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia. •Sputnik V vaccine was authorized for emergency use in India on April 12, 2021, and the vaccination with the Russian vaccine in India began on May 14, 2021. Sputnik V’s first dose was administered in Hyderabad. •Sputnik V has shown 97.6 per cent efficacy among those vaccinated with both components in Russia between December 5, 2020, to March 31, 2021. •Sputnik V, based on a platform of human adenoviral vectors, uses two different vectors for the two shots during vaccination, in turn providing a longer duration of immunity against vaccines using similar two shots delivery method. •Sputnik V can be easily stored in a refrigerator without any need for cold-chain storage requirements.


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