Taking back the responsibility of vaccination from states, PM Narendra Modi has announced that now Centre will provide free vaccine to the states. But it does not mean state governments can take it easy.
It is time to make preparations to tackle the third wave.
Many states had set aside funds for free vaccination. They should now invest that kitty in strengthening health facilities. In the third wave, there will be a massive rise in cases. So, the states should put all its might in tackling that looming crisis.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had allocated Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination in the Budget. That is, at an expenditure of Rs 150 per dose, about 233 crore doses can be purchased through this amount – which will be enough to vaccinate India’s adults.
The third phase of vaccination started in India from May 1, in which states started buying directly from vaccine producers. Many states announced free vaccination for 18 to 45 years and free vaccine facility from the centre continued for people above 45 years.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, while announcing free vaccination, had estimated the expenditure of Rs 3,000 crore. At the same time, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had informed about the expenditure of Rs 2,500 crore on vaccination.
The Delhi government had allocated Rs 50 crore for vaccination in the budget, while the Assam government had deposited Rs 119 crore in the Assam Arogya Fund for vaccine purchase.
Whether there is a demand for liquid oxygen or beds in hospitals, the need for all these health facilities can increase manifold in the third wave.
Complacency played a big part in the devastation caused by the coronavirus second wave. It is difficult to predict how big the next crisis will be, but no stone should be left unturned in preparation. It is not wrong to say that preparations for the second wave were incomplete at every level.
Unprecedented increase in cases of infection can be seen in the third wave. So, the state governments should put all its might in tackling that looming crisis.
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