Bengaluru: Former chief minister and leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the decision and ensure that every Indian is vaccinated against COVID-19 for free.
In a letter written to PM, he said that the entire nation faced challenges due to the spread of pandemic. GDP of our country is expected to contract by 7.7 per cent for the year 2020-21 and millions of people have lost their livelihood due to the pandemic. It is the absolute duty of the central and state governments to come to the aid of people during these difficult times. “Development of vaccines has raised hopes among everyone, and it is essential to make the vaccines accessible and available to everyone,” he added.
Stating that the decision of the Central government to allow private health care centers to charge Rs 250 for administering the vaccine will adversely impact the efforts to ensure immunity to everyone and to contain the spread. “More than 70 per cent of the population will find it difficult to afford the vaccine and will prevent them from accessing it. This will act as a deterrent to the fight against pandemic and return to normalcy,” he said.
He said that many countries across the world, including Brazil, Canada, United States of America and United Kingdom, have made covid vaccines free of cost and it is the right approach to ensure speedy administration to everyone. Though it is the right approach to collaborate with private health Centers, both central and state governments should take the burden to reimburse. One of the narrative built during the collection of funds through PM Cares was that the funds shall be used to vaccinate everyone free of cost.
The Prime Minister Office (PMO) has failed to release the accounts of PM cares fund and failed to provide vaccination at zero cost as well, he alleged.