Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asserted that the COVID-19 vaccination drive needed to be taken door-to-door and asked officials of districts having low inoculation to adopt innovative ways to boost the campaign.
Modi made the remarks at a meeting, held via video conferencing, with district magistrates of over 40 districts having low vaccination coverage.
Pointing out that he recently met Pope Francis at the Vatican City, the prime minister said special emphasis was needed on taking message of religious leaders spreading awareness and encouraging the vaccination drive to the people.
He urged the district officials to take the help of local religious leaders to spread awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and fight rumours.
Modi stressed that there is a need to adopt innovative ways to increase vaccination in districts with low coverage.
"So far you've been working to take people to vaccination centres, now it's time to reach every house and work with 'har ghar dastak' campaign," he said.
Ensure that the first dose is given to unvaccinated people, but also give equal attention to second dose, the prime minister told the officials.
The districts in focus at the meeting were those with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of vaccine.
The 40 districts are spread across Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Meghalaya, among other states, according to the Prime Minister's Office.
Chief ministers of the states, including Maharashtra's Uddhav Thackrey and Chhattisgarh's Bhupesh Baghel, were present at the meeting.
Prime Minister Modi held the meeting immediately upon his return from abroad after attending the G20 and the COP26 meetings.