The Opposition Congress has asked the Centre to come clear on its new vaccination policy by revealing its roadmap to vaccinate all citizens against COVID-19 by the end of this year and discussing it in Parliament.
The Centre recently announced its decision to vaccinate all citizens above 18 years free of cost. Under the new plan, while the Centre would procure 75 per cent of the vaccines including the 25 per cent share of states from pharma companies, the rest 25 per cent can be procured and sold by private hospitals. The government on Monday also announced the price ceiling for the three vaccines –Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V – to be sold by private hospitals.
Alleging that the government was driven by headlines and not deadlines, the Congress has objected to the concept of paid vaccination at private hospitals.
“The government must work out a transparent allocation formula in consultation with states for providing vaccines to the states. We know there have been periods that BJP-ruled states have been favoured heavily in allocation of vaccines and other essential medical supplies,” senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Asking the Centre to be transparent in allocation of vaccines to the states, Ramesh said a Parliament session should be held to discuss the vaccination policy as well as the fresh budget prepared for the government’s new decision to centralise the process.
Ramesh said considering that around 31 lakh shots were administered on Monday, it would need 80 lakh doses every day to vaccinate the 100 crore population of the country by the end of the year.
“The roadmap for this is not there. Which are the vaccines, when the vaccines are going to come, how the vaccines are going to be distributed, these are all issues that have to be done in a coordinated manner, in a cooperative manner, in a consensual manner, in a participative manner with the state governments…that was not in evidence…. The Prime Minister did not shed any light on that yesterday,” he said.
Criticising the government mandate to register oneself on the CoWin app, which could be a big deterrent for those not familiar or having access to technology, the Congress questioned the decision to allow private hospitals to procure 25 per cent of the vaccines.
“We know that 50 percent of the vaccines that were earmarked for private hospitals have been monopolised by nine big hospital chains in big cities, in metropolitan areas, starving the small cities, the major cities of vaccine supply,” Ramesh said adding that this is “a very dangerous proposal” and unseen in anywhere else in the world including the US, UK and Europe.