Vijayawada: Asserting that the entire country is fighting a battle against COVID-19, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy said that vaccination is the only way to win against the pandemic and stated that the Centre has to come out with alternatives to increase vaccine production in order to fill the gaps in vaccination drives.

Releasing the first tranche of YSR Rythu Bharosa, the Chief Minister said that the Central government has to take steps to increase vaccine production to meet the existing demand. In the current scenario, if about 26 crore people over the age of 45 are there in the country, they should be given a total of 52 crore doses, he said. Similarly, those between the ages of 18 and 45 are 60 crores and they require 120 crore doses. Thus, a total of 172 crore doses would be required to vaccinate everyone across the country, but so far only about 18 crore doses have been administered, which is less than 10 per cent of the actual requirement, Jagan added.

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 73 lakh doses till date. 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, the Serum Institute is making six lakh doses per month. He said that in this situation, the fight against COVID-19 would get rather difficult.

The Chief Minister urged the public to take appropriate precautions by wearing masks, maintaining social distance, washing hands often and said living with COVID would be part of everyone's lives.

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