Indian prime minister calls for 'vaccination festival' against pandemic

Indian prime minister calls for 'vaccination festival' against pandemic
Indian prime minister calls for 'vaccination festival' against pandemic

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — Faced with rapidly rising new COVID-19 infections, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday sought to convert the medical ritual of vaccination into a festival with the aim of inoculating 100 percent of the population aged 45 and above in India's worst-hit districts.

Addressing an emergency meeting of all state chief ministers, Modi called for a "Vaccination Festival" — "Teeka Utsav" in Hindi — between April 11-14.

April 11 marks the birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule, an Indian social reformer in the 19th century which is widely celebrated and April 14 is the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, the architect of India’s constitution.

Modi is known for unconventional steps which get the masses involved in campaigns such as the one to contain the coronavirus. Last year as the pandemic spread and amidst the rigors of lockdown, he got people into innovative campaigns to create awareness of the dangers from COVID-19. The vaccine festival is one such initiative.

The prime minister acknowledged that "a challenging situation is emerging again. We need to fight the second surge in cases. This is a serious concern. People have become complacent. In most states, the administration has also become relaxed."

He urged the chief ministers to deal with the surge on a "war footing" in the next two to three weeks. — WAM


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