Preparations done for free vaccination from May 1: C'garh CM

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Raipur, Apr 30 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday said all preparations had been completed to start vaccinating people above the age of 18 years free of cost against COVID-19.

He said since there was a shortage of vaccines, his government would begin by inoculating those poor persons who have 'Antyodaya' cards.

'From May 1, we will administer 2.60 crore free vaccine doses to 1.30 crore people in the 18-44 age group.

Since vaccine manufacturers are providing doses at higher rates to the states than the Centre, we will incur extra expenditure of Rs 800 crore. We have ordered 25 lakh doses each from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech,' the CM informed.

The health apparatus of the state was not given much importance in 15 years of the previous government's rule but his dispensation had still managed to tackle the outbreak effectively, the CM said.

So far, the state's caseload is 7,13,706, out of which 5,87,484 had recovered, leaving it with 1,17,910 active cases, the CM informed in his address to the people.

'The active patient ratio in the state is 16.5 per cent, while recovery rate is 82.3 percent. Over 55.69 lakh vaccine doses have been administered, which is higher than several states. During my government's tenure, the number of ICU beds have been increased from 129 statewide to 729, while oxygenated beds have gone up from 1,242 to 7,042. HDU )high dependency unit) beds have gone up from zero to 515,' the CM said.

'There were 15,001 general beds in hospitals, which has increased to 29,667 now. At the end of 2018, there were 204 ventilators in the state, which has now gone up to 593.

Moreover, we have conducted over 71 lakh COVID-19 tests.

We have also recruited 296 new doctors in the state,' he added.

Baghel said Chhattisgarh had surplus oxygen as well.

He said Rs 73 crore had been given to districts to fight COVID-19, while a sum of Rs 53.88 crore was still available in the CM's Relief Fund, which too would be used to tackle the pandemic. PTI COR BNM BNM