Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Monday (April 19) responded to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on containing India’s COVID-19 crisis.
Vardhan said that while he respects Singh’s suggestions, he said the former PM should tell Congress members to show “gratitude” for the work done by India’s scientific community to contain coronavirus.
A day before, Manmohan Singh had asked PM Modi to publicly declare details of how many COVID vaccine doses the government has ordered from manufacturers and detail out the plan for transparent distribution of the vaccine among states.
Vardhan responded to Dr Singh’s letter y saying, “It is saddening, Dr Singh, that while you very well understand, the importance of vaccination as an important method of fighting Covid battle, people in responsible positions in your party as well as in the state government formed by your party do not seem to share your view.”
The Union health minister said that the Centre has already implemented some of his (Dr Singh’s) suggestions. “The point about allowing import of vaccines has already been approved by credible foreign authorities. You made this suggestion on April 18 and a decision about this was already taken a week before on April 11,” the letter read.
Vardhan trained his guns at Congress leaders for what he said was their “lack of gratitude” over India’s success in implementing the world’s largest vaccine campaign. “It is shocking that senior members of the Congress party are yet to utter a single word of gratitude towards our scientist community and vaccine manufacturers for innovating under trying circumstances and empowering the world with vaccines.”
Without naming Rahul Gandhi, Vardhan said some senior Congress leaders took “extraordinary interest in spreading falsehood regarding the efficacy of these vaccines. The minister held the Congress responsible for “fuelling vaccine hesitancy” and “playing with the lives of countrymen.”
It may be noted that in January, just before the vaccination drive began, Rahul Gandhi and many of his senior party colleagues had questioned the Centre for granting emergency use approval to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which was then under human trial phase.
Vardhan did not forget to repeat his old charge that Congress-ruled states are the biggest contributors to the second COVID wave.
Vardhan, however, ended his letter saying that the Centre will take Dr Singh’s suggestions at face value because it knows the former Prime Minister has national interest in mind.