Vijayawada: Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday said Andhra Pradesh has become one of the first states in the country to invite global tenders for COVID vaccines.

Replying to the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Governor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan's Address in the Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister has said that the supply of oxygen and distribution of vaccines are Centralized and the State has been making all efforts in fighting COVID.

He said that the State government is airlifting oxygen tankers to Odisha every day for refilling. He said they are also importing oxygen cryogenic tankers from other countries.

Keeping the future needs in view, the government is setting up 53 oxygen generating plants in all identified hospitals across the State and further purchasing 50 cryogenic tankers, 18500 oxygen concentrators and 10,000 b-type cylinders with Rs 309 crore.

Asserting that the entire country is fighting a battle with COVID-19, where vaccination is the only way to win over the pandemic, Chief Minister said TDP leaders are intentionally politicizing the vaccination issue despite knowing the facts. He made it clear that the government is ready to spend money to procure vaccines for all aged above 18 in the state and called for global tenders for sourcing the vaccine doses.

Bringing to the notice of the house, the Chief Minister clarified that there are about 26 crore people over the age of 45 in the country, who require a total of 52 crore doses. Similarly, those between the ages of 18 and 45 are 60 crores and they need 120 crore doses, which puts up a total requirement of 172 crore doses. But so far only 18.44 crore doses have been administered, which is just 11 percent of the actual requirement.

He said that in Andhra Pradesh alone, over seven crore doses would be required to cover all those above 18 years, but the Centre has given only 76,29,580 doses to date, which is around 10 percent of the total requirement. In regard to vaccine production, the Chief Minister said that currently, only two companies are manufacturing vaccines across the country with just seven crore doses per month, while Bharat Biotech is producing one lakh doses, Serum Institute is making six lakh doses per month.

He assured that vaccination will be done free of cost once sufficient doses reach the state. He urged the public to take appropriate precautions as COVID would be part of everyone's lives until vaccination was done.

He later announced that a fixed deposit of Rs 10 lakh for every child who lost both their parents due to COVID-19 so that they can lead their lives with the monthly interest and use the money when they grow up.

Chief Minister has said that he was well aware of the value of life and soon after forming the government revolutionary changes were brought in Aarogyasri scheme making it applicable for all those families having up to Rs 5 lakh annual income, ensuring that scheme serves as a 'life-saver.

The previous government had provided only 1000 treatments under Aarogyasri, but in the last 23 months, the government had included a total of 2,400 treatments including the treatment for COVID-19 and Black Fungus. For treating Black Fungus, the government had identified 17 hospitals. Also, like no other government, as many as 1180 ambulance vehicles were procured and equipped with all necessary medical infrastructure.

Speaking on the pandemic, Chief Minister said Rs 2,229 crore has been spent on COVID control in the last 14 months, and in the second wave alone over 47,000 beds have been made available for COVID patients in 649 dedicated COVID hospitals across the State. Besides these, over 52,000 beds have been set up in COVID care centers and also 18,000 oxygen concentrators were made available. The number of testing centers has been increased to over 150, where almost one lakh tests are being done every day.

The Chief Minister said that the State had lost tier-1 cities post bifurcation resulting in loss of access to advanced treatments, super-specialty hospitals and better medical infrastructure facilities. In such conditions, the State government had taken up the Nadu-Nedu initiative for revamping all the government hospitals right from PHC level to Teaching hospitals at National Standards, ensuring to have one teaching hospital and a medical college in each parliamentary constituency. Despite the lack of tier-1 cities, the government solely focused on fast testing and fast treatment to fight against COVID -19 with the help of volunteers and Asha workers, which put the State with the lowest death rate.

He further said that the government had recruited over 18270 staff including doctors, technicians, and specialists to treat in 629 COVID hospitals and also strengthened 104 call centers to address COVID related issues. Until May 16, as many as 3.12 lakh calls were taken by 104 call centers and assisted in providing admission in hospitals to 60,634 callers.

He said that there is nothing to put the blame on the opposition or others, as this is the time for everyone to unite irrespective of the political differences to fight against COVID. He requested the media and opposition not to panic the people with fake news and false propaganda.

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