PM pitches door-to-door COVID-19 vaccinations, asks officials to rope in religious leaders to fight rumours

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said 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. He also suggested to rope in organisations such as National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme for the campaign.

"We have to focus on every village, every town. If you have to make a different strategy for each village, do it... you can form teams of 25 people. You can also take help of NCC and NSS. We have to make more and more people aware," NDTVquoted the prime minister as saying.

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.

Several states, including Maharashtra, have been asking the Centre to allow door-to-door vaccination, especially for people who are ailing or otherwise unable to visit vaccination centres.

The Prime Minister also warned against lowering the guard following India's historic milestone of administering 100 crore doses.

"They say one must never underestimate disease and enemies. They have to be fought against till the very end. So, I  would want that we should not bring even a slight laxity," The Times of India quoted him as saying.

The prime minister applauded the frontline workers for their effort in taking vaccination to remote locations in the country

"Progress made so far is due to your hardwork. Every member of administration and ASHA workers worked a lot, walked for miles and took vaccination to remote locations. But if we become lax after 1 billion doses, a new crisis can come up," the report quoted him as saying.

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 percent 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.

With inputs from PTI

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PM pitches door-to-door COVID-19 vaccinations, asks officials to rope in religious leaders to fight rumours
PM pitches door-to-door COVID-19 vaccinations, asks officials to rope in religious leaders to fight rumours
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