Odisha CM urges PM to allow sale of COVID-19 vaccines in open market


Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow sale of COVID-19 vaccines outside Government supply chain in the open market so that people, who can afford, will be able to avail them.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Patnaik said selling of the vaccines in open market will help the Governments have a focused approach towards vulnerable sections of the society.

He suggested rationalisation in vaccine distribution with a focus on metropolitans who contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Vaccines already approved globally by credible agencies and governments may be accorded approval to increase supply, he added.

Stating that India had a huge vaccine manufacturing potential, Patnaik said, “the Centre and State should support units to ramp up vaccine production. As this is an extraordinary situation, our government should run the extra mile in this regard.”

The Chief Minister further suggested that few metropolitan cities which contribute the highest COVID cases should be allowed priority vaccination and flexibility in age criteria as these are economic nerve centres of the country, and any lockdown in these areas will have an impact on the rest of the country in terms of labour movement.

He also drew the Prime Minister’s attention on vaccine shortage in Odisha.

 “We have one of the lowest rates of wastage in the country. We have a capacity to administer more than three lakh doses every day. We are getting huge response from people to get vaccinated,” Patnaik informed.

He said the intermittent supply was creating a challenge in meeting the demand.

“It is in this backdrop that I had requested for 25 lakh vaccine doses to help us administer three lakh doses every day. Even at full capacity it will take us 160 days to fully vaccinate the eligible population of our State (above 45 years),” said Patnaik.

“The State has till date administered about 47 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses to healthcare workers, frontline workers and persons above 45 years,” he said.