Sunday 11 April 2021 - 5:31:54 am

Indian prime minister calls for 'vaccination festival' against pandemic


NEW DELHI, 8th April, 2021 (WAM) -- Faced with rapidly rising new COVID-19 infections, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight 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 11th April and 14th April. Jyotiba Phule, an Indian social reformer in the 19th century was born on 11th April and his birth anniversary is widely celebrated. 14th April 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 rigours 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/Krishnan Nayar

WAM/Hatem Mohamed