The Centre on Friday said Covid-19 vaccination programme in India will be completed by December this year. This announcement by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar came hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that only 3 per cent of country’s population is vaccinated against coronavirus.
Speaking at a press conference, Javadekar said, “Last week, the health ministry made it clear that within December the country will produce 216 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines. This means that at least 108 crore people will be able to get vaccinated. So, Rahul Gandhi should understand that India will vaccinate all by December 2021.”
Attacking Gandhi for using the word “nautanki” (drama) during his presser, Javadekar said that using such terms at the time of crisis is related to insulting the efforts of the government to control the worrisome Covid-19 pandemic situation.
“So far India has administered 20 crore vaccines and ranks second in terms of doses administered. If Rahul Gandhi is worried about vaccination rates, he should concentrate on how Congress-ruled states are conducting their respective Covid-19 vaccination programmes. Those states have not been able to inoculate people from age group between 18-45 years even though quotas were assigned to them,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Union Minister also launched an attack at Gandhi over a document, which the BJP claims was designed by Congress to defame Prime Minister Modi and the Centre over its handling of Covid-19 situation in the country. However, the allegation was denied by the Congress.
“Vaccines are being produced and by December 216 crore doses will be administered, but one thing is clear and one does not require proof that the ‘toolkit’ is created by you,” he said, adding that vaccination drive will successfully inoculate every citizen of the country against Covid-19.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi during a press conference asked the central government to evolve a Covid-19 vaccine strategy for the entire population, warning of multiple waves of the virus at the current rate of vaccination. Noting that India was the vaccine capital of the world and it was possible to escalate the inoculation drive, Gandhi said it was time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be a leader and show that he can organise vaccines for everyone.
“In my understanding, going by the current rate of vaccination guarantees the third wave of the virus. If vaccination was 50-60 per cent you would not have a third wave and certainly not the fourth,” said the Congress MP from Kerala’s Wayanad. He said going by today’s pace of vaccinations, the entire inoculation exercise will be completed by May 2024 and several waves of Covid-19 will come.
He said lockdown, masks and social distancing are temporary solutions, but vaccination is permanent solution to Covid and the government must evolve a strategy. The former Congress chief said there is no vaccine strategy in place. “The prime minister created space for Covid through his actions, he is responsible for the second wave,” he charged.
Gandhi accused the prime minister of not thinking strategically. He also accused the government and the prime minister of “lying” on the Covid-19 death rate and urged it to not give the virus time or space.
(with inputs from PTI)