Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh has urged his successor Narendra Modi to allow states to define who qualifies as frontline workers in need of early inoculation, “even if they are below 45 years of age”.
In a letter to the PM, he said the distribution of jabs among states should be based on a “transparent formula”.
“States should be given some flexibility to define categories of frontline workers who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age. For example, states may want to designate schoolteachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45,” he said.
Currently the government is inoculating only those over the age of 45.
Singh said vaccine producers must be given funds and concessions to expand their manufacturing facilities.
“The government should publicise what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months. If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply,” he wrote.
He said the government should retain only 10 per cent of this expected supply for emergency needs. “Other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their rollout.”