Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sunday announced free vaccination for all above the age of 18 years in the upcoming vaccination drive from May 1.
In his video message to the people of the state, the CM announced that providing free vaccine to all eligible persons could cost the state exchequer an additional burden of `2,000 crore. Nevertheless, the government was committed to go ahead with its free vaccination policy.
“The state government has decided to provide free vaccines to all above 18 years. We will invest `2,000 crore for this, but I urge you to become responsible citizens and follow all COVID-19 safety protocols to avoid the disease from spreading in the state,” he said. The move will benefit 2 crore people.
During his address, the Chief Minister cited several damages caused by COVID-19 to the state and asked the people to cooperate in controlling the pandemic by changing their social behaviour. He said, “It is very unfortunate that numerous people in the country are being infected by the deadly coronavirus. The situation in several states is very grave and people are suffering due to shortage of oxygen. India had earlier never seen such a situation before.”
“Currently, Odisha is supplying oxygen to six states to mitigate the sorrows of the people there,” the Chief Minister said.
“Many districts of Odisha are also suffering from COVID-19. The people of Odisha have always supported efforts to revive the state. The condition of the state is really serious this time and we are doing our best to bolster the healthcare system in the state,” he said.
Stating that every life is important, the Chief Minister said, “We need to be very careful. If the citizens are not careful the government alone cannot combat the disease. We request the people to work towards checking the infection. Many kids have become orphan due to this. With folded hands I request you to seriously abide by the COVID safety protocols,” the CM said.
According to the CM, nobody wants lockdown and shutdown and, hence, cooperation from each and everyone is needed to reduce the COVID-19 caseload in the state.