After Maha, Delhi calls on central govt to scale up & decentralize Covid vax drive; plans to inoculate whole city in 3 months  

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New Delhi: Following calls from Maharashtra government to open up Covid vaccination drives in wake of increase in new Coronavirus infection cases, now Delhi government has joined the chorus appealing the union government to decentralize the system and allow the state governments to administer the vaccine on a war-footing basis. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the Centre should provide relaxation in the Corona guidelines and open vaccination for all above 18 years after which the Delhi government will inoculate the entire city in 3 months. “If the Central government allows vaccination for all, and if the Delhi government gets a sufficient supply of the vaccine that is to be administered, the Delhi government has formulated a plan to administer the vaccine to the entire Delhi in the next three months. i appeal to the Central government to decentralize the system and allow the state governments to administer the vaccine on a war-footing basis,” he added. Earlier, the Maharashtra government state advisor had taken a critical stand on “center controlled” vaccination drive while asking “why the Centre was sitting on vaccines like a snake on a pot of gold?”

The chief minister added that  the Delhi government will increase the count of the vaccine jabs from current 30,000-40,000 per day to 1.25 lakh per day along with doubling the vaccination centres from 500 to 1000 in the next few days.  The timings for administering the vaccine from 9 AM to 5 PM are also being increased to 9 AM to 9 PM, he added.

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Kejriwal said, “In the last few days, we have seen a spike in the number of Corona cases. This surge is not like the previous surge which was observed in June, September, and November 2020, but in the last few weeks, our daily count was between 100-125 cases. In the last 3 days, the spike is much more than the last few weeks with more than 500 cases in a single day. The Delhi government is deeply concerned about the situation.”

He argued that the current spike is not dangerous or lethal. “We used to have 6000-7000 cases earlier, but they are now 500. So, there is no need to panic. Second, we are closely monitoring the situation and taking adequate measures to address the situation. Our health experts are being consulted regularly, along with also holding regular consultations with the health experts of the Central government. We are following all the measures advised by the experts. We observed a certain amount of laxity in the entire system because the cases had gone down. We will be implementing the tracking, tracing, and isolating system with full dereliction. The surveillance and enforcement will be implemented adhering to a strict outlook, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”

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Kejriwal said, “We all know that the vaccination program began in January. But what is ironic is – increase in the number of cases alongside a comprehensive vaccination program. We are administering the vaccine to 30000 to 40000 people every day. To increase this number, we will improve the government system and do away with any lapses that the system currently has. On the other hand, I want to appeal to the people who are still hesitant to get a vaccine, there is no need to be scared or hesitant. I have got my vaccine shot, my parents have also got it and we are facing no health complications. In fact, we are now protected from contacting Coronavirus.”

Kejriwal added, “I also want to appeal to the Central government to provide some relaxation in the vaccination guidelines since it is coming off as a barrier to the efficient functioning of the vaccination centres. We now have two months of experience in the vaccination process. We will be writing a letter to the Central government to bring some relaxation in a few parameters in the vaccination guidelines. We assure them that we will be careful, but if the Central government agrees to provide certain relaxations, it will help us in opening new centres. Many of the existing centres are functioning for 24 hours, we will instruct more centres to function for 24 hours.”

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Kejriwal said that while on the one hand, India has taken a lead in making a vaccine for the Coronavirus, but unfortunately, on the other hand, we are observing a rise in Corona cases in the country. “The current guidelines are very rigid. Our country is now doing good in terms of the production of the vaccine. Therefore, rather than creating a list that mentions the eligibility, age groups with co-morbidities, etc, we should create a list that is ineligible, for instance, people below 18 and other age groups.”