Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (File image)
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on March 18 appealed to the Centre to open up the COVID-19 vaccination drive for all citizens barring minors and those with specific health conditions.
If the eligibility criteria are relaxed for all adults, the entire Delhi can be vaccinated in a period of three months, he claimed.
A situation must not arise that India, despite taking a lead in vaccine development witnesses a sharp surge in the spread of infections, Kejriwal said.
"I appeal to the Centre to open up vaccination for all. We should allow walk-in vaccinations," the chief minister said in a televised address.
"Instead of making a list of who is eligible, make a list of who is not eligible," he said, adding that the latter should include only those aged below 18 and adults suffering from select-medical conditions.
The Delhi government, Kejriwal claimed, has drawn a plan to ramp up the vaccination drive.
"If we have a sufficient supply of the vaccine, we can vaccinate Delhi in the next 3 months," he said.
"I appeal to everyone, who is eligible, to get themselves vaccinated. 30,000-40,000 vaccines are being administered per day, as of now. We will increase this to 1.25 lakh vaccines per day. In the next few days, we are increasing our capacity," the Delhi CM added.
"I appeal to Centre that their current guideline for vaccination centres is very stringent. We now have two months of experience in vaccination. So we're writing to Centre to relax some parameters so that vaccination can be done at more centres," he further said.
The positivity rate in Delhi has increased over the past week. The city reported 536 new cases on March 17, which is the highest since January 6.
Other parts of the country have also reported a spurt in positivity rate, with the situation being most alarming in Maharashtra. The western Indian state reported 23,179 new cases on March 17, the highest since September last year.
An increase in the pace of vaccination is considered as one of the key measures which could prevent the second peak of coronavirus in the country.
As of now, the Union health ministry has allowed only healthcare and other frontline workers, along with those aged above 60 and 45-plus with comorbidities to receive the vaccine shots.