New Delhi: With an aim to inoculate maximum number of eligible people against the coronavirus or COVID-19, a 4-day ‘Tika Utsav‘ or vaccine festival will kick off in the country from today. The mass vaccination programme – which will be conducted till April 14 – is being held at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While interacting with Chief Ministers of various states and union territories, PM Modi had urged them to focus on vaccinating all those who are above 45 years of age in high caseload districts. “Sometimes, it helps in changing the atmosphere. The birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule is on April 11 and on April 14, there is the birth anniversary of Baba Saheb. Can we organise a ”Tika Utsav: or vaccine festival and create an atmosphere of ”Tika Utsav’‘?” he had said. Also Read - April 11-14 Can be Observed as 'Tika Utsav' for COVID-19 vaccination: PM Modi During Coronavirus Review Meet

The Prime Minister has also called for making optimum utilisation of vaccination capacity. “Let’s see how we can mobilise things from April 11 to 14 and there will be the satisfaction of achievement. It will greatly help in changing the situation. I have also told the Indian government to provide as many vaccine doses as possible,” he added.

Several states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are gearing up with appeals being made to eligible people to get themselves vaccinated during the duration of the ”Tika Utsav”. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also issued an appeal to people to get vaccinated in large numbers during the 4-day ‘festival’.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has stated that four lakh people will be innocuated during ‘Tika Utsav’.  The Chief Minister has also asked people of the state to come forward for vaccination to contain the corona pandemic.

The mass vaccination drive comes as several states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh (worst-hit COVID states) have flagged a ‘shortage’of vaccine doses.

However, the Centre has maintained that a sufficient quantity of the jabs have been allocated to all the states.

“All the claims of states are baseless and centre is supplying vaccines to all states equitably irrespective of the ruling party. The central government is working very hard in controlling the pandemic and speeding up the nationwide covid-19 vaccination program and states should support it instead of playing politics,” Harsh Vardhan told Mint.