Congress leaders meet Governor; seek free, universal vaccination

Party finds fault with the Centre’s vaccination plan

A Congress delegation, headed by the APCC president S. Sailajanath, on Friday met Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan and urged him to impress upon the Narendra Modi government at the Centre for implementation of a universal vaccination programme free of cost.

In a memorandum submitted to Mr. Harichandan, the Congress said a universal immunisation drive was the only way to fight COVID-19 pandemic and defeat the virus.

Mr. Sailajanath said even as the pandemic caused unprecedented devastation, causing immeasurable pain to a large population of the country, the “Modi government abdicated its responsibility and abandoned the hapless people to fend for themselves in this hour of crisis”.

Finding fault with the Centre’s “vaccination plan”, he said the Government was reprehensibly oblivious to “’procurement of vaccines and deliberately created a digital divide, thereby slowing down the inoculation drive”.

Mr. Sailajanath said last year in May, when other countries were placing orders for vaccine purchase, the Modi government failed India miserably, as it placed the first order for vaccines only in January this year.

The Congress leader said contrary to the Centre’s claim that 21.31 crore vaccine doses were administered till May 31 this year, only 4.45 crore people in the country had received both the doses, which was only 3.17% of the country’s population. In the last 134 days, the average pace of vaccination had been around 16 lakh vaccine doses per day. He said at this rate, it would take over three years to vaccinate the adult population.

He said the Prime Minister owed an explanation to the people of this country on how his government planned to battle the impending third wave of the pandemic.

Pointing to the multiple pricing slab for the vaccine, he said it was another instance of the Modi government profiteering from people’s misery. The Serum Institute’s single dose of Covishield costs ₹150 to the government, ₹300 to the State governments and ₹600 to private hospitals. Similarly the cost of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin single dose was ₹150 for Modi Government, ₹600 to the State governments and ₹1,200 to private hospitals. Some private hospitals even charged ₹1,500 for a single dose, he alleged.

He said the Centre should procure adequate stocks of vaccine and supply for free to the States and the entire adult population of above 18 years should be inoculated by December 2021.

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