A ‘Tika Utsav‘ or vaccine festival is being organised in the country from today to inoculate maximum number of eligible people against the coronavirus amid a worrying surge in cases. The mass vaccination programme – which will be conducted from April 11-14 – is being held following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to the chief ministers of all states and union territories during a meeting over the coronavirus situation.
“Can we celebrate Tika Utsav from April 11 to April 14? During this time, we should vaccinate as many eligible people as possible and target zero vaccine wastage,” PM Modi had said at the meeting.
Several states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have ramped up their efforts to double inoculations and have appealed people to get themselves vaccinated during the four-day programme.
In Uttar Pradesh, the ‘Tika Utsav’ will start with 6,000 vaccination centres in the state. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath along with the Governor will take part in the Webinars on vaccination on all the days of the drive.
Neighbouring Bihar is likely to vaccinate four lakh people during ‘Tika Utsav’, according to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Mr Kumar has also appealed to the people to come forward for vaccination to contain the corona pandemic.
Mr Kumar’s counterpart in Karnataka, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa called vaccine the “biggest weapon” in fight against coronavirus as he urged eligible people in the southern state to get vaccinated.
Vaccine is the biggest weapon available to us in this battle against Covid-19. I urge all eligible citizens to get vaccinated and also encourage people around you to get vaccinated.
Let us continue to stay protected by wearing mask and following social distance.#TeekaUtsav
– B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) April 11, 2021
The drive is taking place amid states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra warning about fast-depleting coronavirus vaccine stocks.
While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his state had only five days of vaccines left, his counterpart from Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, has warned that vaccine stocks in the state will run out in 48 hours or less if the centre does not send the doses immediately.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also flagged the vaccine shortage issue, saying the national capital had between seven and 10 days of stock left.
Earlier this week Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta told news agency ANI there were only two days of supply left in his state, with around 10 lakh doses urgently needed.
Over 10 crore people have been administered COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country since the mass inoculation drive began earlier this year, making India the fastest nation to reach the milestone.
While India took just 85 days to reach the 100 million dose mark, the US took 89 days and China took 102 days to do the same, the Union Health Ministry said.
India has been witnessing an unprecedented surge of coronavirus cases since the start of the year. On Saturday, the country added 1,45,384 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest single-day surge so far, as the country’s tally surged to 1,32,05,0926.
Eight states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala — account for 60.62 per cent of the total doses given so far in the country, according to the ministry.