Prime Minister Narendra Modi, immediately upon his return from abroad after attending the G20 and COP26 meetings, is holding a review meeting on Wednesday with district magistrates of over 40 districts having low Covid-19 vaccination coverage.
Cautioning against any laxity after surpassing the milestone of 1 billion vaccine doses, Modi said "a new crisis can come" and quoted a saying to assert that one should not underestimate "diseases and enemies as they should be fought till the very end".
Prime Minister asserted that the Covid-19 vaccination drive is now needed to be taken door-to-door and asked officials of districts having low inoculation to adopt innovative ways to boost the campaign.
The meeting, being held via video conferencing, includes 40 districts with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of vaccine.
The 40 districts are spread across Jharkhand, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Meghalaya, among other states, according to the Prime Minister's Office.
Chief ministers of the states, including Maharashtra's Uddhav Thackrey and Chhattisgarh's Bhupesh Baghel, were present at the meeting.
Pointing out that he recently met Pope Francis at the Vatican City, the prime minister said special emphasis was needed on taking message of religious leaders spreading awareness and encouraging the vaccination drive to the people.
He urged the district officials to take the help of local religious leaders to spread awareness about Covid-19 vaccines and fight rumours.
Ensure that the first dose is given to unvaccinated people, but also give equal attention to second dose, the prime minister told the officials.
Modi stressed that there is a need to adopt innovative ways to increase vaccination in districts with low coverage.
"So far you've been working to take people to vaccination centres, now it's time to reach every house and work with 'har ghar dastak' campaign," he said.
The districts in focus at the meeting were those with less than 50 per cent coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second dose of vaccine.
Highlighting the need to accelerate the pace and coverage of vaccination, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently said that there are more than 10.34 crore people in the country who have not taken the second dose of vaccine after the expiry of the prescribed interval.
(With PTI inputs)