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Odisha Cannot Lower Guard Against COVID-19 Even After Roll-Out Of Vaccines: CM Naveen

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday said the state cannot lower its guard against COVID-19 even after availability of vaccine to fight the viral infection.

Patnaik said this while attending a meeting of chief ministers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the PM took stock of vaccination preparedness across the country over a video conference. PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of all States and UTs on 24 November 2020 via video conferencing, to review the status and preparedness of COVID-19 response and management.

“Though we have prepared for seamless vaccination programme to save every life on priority basis we cannot lower our guard, even when the vaccine is available as duration efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19 is still unknown,” the chief minister said.

Mentioning that Odisha is fully prepared with a system in place for vaccine distribution when it is available, Patnaik said, the states focus is on frontline health workers, people above 50 years and those with comorbidity.

“We need to ensure that we all continue to wear masks, practise social distancing and hygiene to protect ourselves against the infection,” he said.

Wearing masks is the best vaccine which the state has to fight the pandemic, the chief minister said.

“Lets resolve not to take the virus lightly,” Patnaik said.

Prime Minister remarked that the country has faced the pandemic through concerted efforts and in terms of both recovery rate and fatality rate, the situation in India is better than most other countries. He talked about the expansion of the testing and treatment network, and noted that special emphasis of the PM CARES fund has been to make available oxygen.

He said that efforts are on to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in terms of oxygen generation, and informed that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway.

PM Modi said, “Safety is as important as speed for us, whichever vaccine India will give to its citizens will be safe on all scientific standards. Vaccine distribution strategy will be chalked out in collective coordination with states. States must also start working cold storage facilities.”

“It is not certain whether there will be one, two or three doses of a vaccine. It is also not decided what will be the price of the vaccine. We still don’t have answers to these questions,” he added.

Further PM Modi stated, “This mission of Coronavirus vaccination of each citizen is like a national commitment. Each State and stakeholder has to work as a team to ensure that this mission is systematic, smooth and a sustained effort.”

(With PTI Inputs)

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