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Allow COVID-19 vaccines in open market, Naveen Patnaik tells Modi

Patnaik said the move will help state govts streamline focus on vulnerable sections

naveen file (File) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make COVID-19 vaccines available in the open market for citizens willing to buy them.

The move will help state governments streamline their focus on the vulnerable sections of society, he wrote to the prime minister on Friday.

Patnaik also stressed COVID-19 vaccines that have received green signals globally from credible agencies should be accorded approval in India.

Noting that India has a huge vaccine-manufacturing potential, the chief minister said the Centre and states should support production units.

"As this is an extraordinary situation, our governments should run the extra mile," he said.

The CM pointed out that a few metropolitan cities, which register the maximum number of cases, should be given priority and age criteria in these places be made flexible.

Any lockdown in these "economic nerve centres" will have an impact on the rest of the country, he stated.

"I am sure that with our continued cooperation, India will be able to fight this situation and save people's lives," Patnaik underlined.

The CM further said that Odisha has the capacity to administer over three lakh doses every day.

"Intermittent supply is creating a challenge in meeting the demand. In this backdrop, I had requested for 25 lakh vaccine doses to help us administer three lakh shots every day. Even at full capacity, it will take us 160 days to fully vaccinate the eligible population of our state (above 45 years)," Patnaik explained.

He expressed hope that the Centre would "scale up" the vaccination drive in the days to come.

Odisha has so far vaccinated 47 lakh people, including its COVID-19 warriors. 

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