Chidambaram wants new health minister to ensure adequate vaccine supply

The former finance minister cited shortage in Tamil Nadu to suggest Mansukh Mandaviya should get his priorities right

P Chidambaram.

After Mansukh Mandaviya took charge as new Union health minister, Congress leader P Chidambaram said his (Mandaviya’s) first task should be to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of vaccines.

Chidambaram tried to draw the new health minister’s attention towards the crisis by citing the example of Tamil Nadu where vaccination had to be suspended at several centres because of vaccine shortage.

“The first task of the new Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, will be to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply of vaccines to all States,” Chidambaram tweeted.

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“No more games to enter the Guinness Book of Records please. Just focus on the supply of vaccines to all the States,” he added.

About the new health minister

Mansukh Mandaviya is a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. He has been elevated to Cabinet rank from minister of state (MoS). He will holding the independent charge of shipping ministry and was MoS for the chemicals and fertilisers ministry.

Mandaviya is a young BJP leader from Saurashtra who was first inducted into the Union Ministry in 2016 and has since been an integral part of Modi’s team.

Dr Harsh Vardhan’s ouster

The earlier man in-charge of the all-important ministry, Dr Harsh Vardhan, took charge in 2019, ahead of the COVID pandemic. This was his second stint as the Union health minister and the most critical one as it gave him the opportunity to steer the country’s COVID fight back. However, the ENT surgeon from Delhi has been criticised for often “missing from action” and being unable to handle the crisis the way his top boss would have liked him to.

Also read: Ministerial changes make little difference to the common Indian

Dr Harsh Vardhan’s exit from the health ministry is an indication that the Modi government wants to fix accountability for India’s disastrous second COVID-19 wave. He remains the science and technology minister for the time being.

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