Karnataka health minister asks Centre to increase supply of Covid vaccine

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New Delhi, Jul 6 (PTI) Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar met Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan here on Tuesday and demanded that the central government supply more COVID-19 vaccine doses to the state.

Karnataka has administered nearly 2.4 crore doses of vaccine so far, which is the highest among all south Indian states, the minister said in the meeting.

Sudhakar is on a two-day visit to the national capital. Besides Vardhan, he also called on several other central ministers, including Gajendra Singh Shekawat, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani and Hardeep Singh Puri, and discussed various issues related to the state.

In a representation to the Union Health Minister, Sudhakar said Karnataka has about 13,000 vaccination centres with a demonstrated capacity to administer 10 lakh doses per day.

'I, therefore, request Government of India to kindly increase the supply further so that the state can facilitate vaccination of every willing and eligible citizen at the earliest,' the minister said in the letter.

Sudhakar also briefed Vardhan about the way the state government has managed to minimise vaccine wastage.

To minimise wastage, districts were told to carefully prepare a microplan and increase capacity building of the field staff. 'As a result of this, eight districts in the state have achieved negative wastage,' he said.

The minister also informed that people in Karnataka are now eager to get inoculated, thanks to reduced hesitancy and increased awareness.

The state health minister also demanded that the central government set up regional centres of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) as well as the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology in cities like Mangalore, Kalaburgi, Hubli and Hassan.

He also sought additional grants for four centrally sponsored medical institutes.

In separate meetings held with other central ministers, the state health minister demanded several projects and funds for development of his home constituency Chikkaballapur, located nearly 60 km away from Bengaluru.

The state minister requested the central government to develop Chikkaballapur as an industrial town, focus on improving ground water level and fresh drinking water, besides extension of Bengaluru Suburban Rail as well as Bengaluru Metro to Chikkaballapur.

He also sought the Centre's support in setting up an allied science institute in Chikkaballapur district.

Sudhakar is scheduled to meet Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others on Wednesday. PTI LUX SMN SMN

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