At a press conference by the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) new President TV Narendran on June 17, the CII called for a minimum of 71.2 lakh average daily vaccination doses between now and December 2021 to cover the entire adult population to mitigate the possibility of a third wave.
CII President Narendran stressed the rising issue of vaccine hesitancy, especially in rural areas. “If we do not stop it now, very soon there will be more vaccines than people are willing to take,” he said.
To enable the production of vaccines to 175 crore doses by December 2021, CII suggested that all the necessary licensing requirements must be fast-tracked, advance purchase agreements are made, capital subsidies and grants must be provided to incentivize production.
CII also called upon the government to hire a “vaccine czar” like in the UK to streamline the vaccination exercise, reduce hesitancy and make faster decisions. A single point person should track vaccine production and import supplies, along with equitable distribution of vaccines among states, it said.
It further said that it should keep track of vaccine deployment and vaccine administration progress, and a dashboard approach should be adopted to share progress reports daily.
CII, which has submitted an oxygen development plan to the government, recommended creating liquefaction capacities in major steel plants from 5 percent to 10 percent.
It also asked the government to mandate on-site oxygen generation units in hospitals with more than 100 beds and incentivize domestic manufacturing of oxygen concentrators. It further urged that Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) storage facilities are set up across 15+ strategic locations, and oxygen care centers are set up to reduce the load from the hospitals.
CII has also called for social health insurance for all citizens by 2025.
CII said it is preparing an index to rank states based on Covid preparedness. The index will evaluate the state of preparedness by States to manage the pandemic.
The states will be ranked based on a composite index of seven indicators, the Indian Industry said.
These include percentage population with one/two doses of vaccination; hospital beds with oxygen to adult population; percentage population with beds which have access to oxygen generating plants and oxygen concentrators; percentage population with ICU Beds; oxygen cylinders available for transportation; access to oxygen (Manufacture TPD in the State/ supply chain secured) and vaccination centers and capacity for the daily administration of vaccines.
This comes after, India from April, witnessed a steep hike in COVID-19 cases during the second wave and a subsequent increase in hospitalizations, oxygen, and antiviral drugs.