Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hitting out at the Centre’s much-delayed ‘Universal’ vaccine policy ‘ and terming it “hollow, without substance and a regrettable show” of evasion of responsibility.
“I am informed that the Central Government has announced the much-delayed ‘Universal’ vaccine policy on 19th April, 2021, which appears to be hollow, without substance and a regrettable show of evasion of responsibility by the Central Government at the time of crisis,” Ms Banerjee wrote to PM.
“You may kindly recollect my letter dated 241b February, -2021 wherein had requested your intervention to allow our State to purchase vaccines directly with state resources and give free vacanation to people of the state. No response was received from your end,” she said.
“Now when the number of cases in second wave of Covid Is spiraling like anything, the Centre has chosen to tactically Indulge’ in empty rhetoric and shy away from its responsibility for making available vaccines to the people of the country,” the chief minister mentioned in her letter.
“The announcement does not address major issues like ensuring the quality, efficacy, stable flow of supply of required number of vaccines by the manufacturers and also the price at which vaccines are to be purchased by States,” Ms Banerjee said.
“It is apprehended that the announced policy ‘might lead to unscrupulous mechanisms in the Market, including pricing of vaccines as it appears to be based on market prices which may put the common people under huge financial burden. More importantly, the supply would also become very erratic because the vaccine manufacturers are hardly prepared 10 scale up their production capacities to the desired levels to the nationwide demand,” she said.
The chief minister said, “I would like to mention once again that required vaccines ere not presently available in the market and request that steps may immediately be taken to ensure availability of vaccines at the earliest.”
“In sum, would earnestly request you to kindly ensure lair, transparent and credible vaccination policy addressing all the Issues outlined above. Much would enable people of the country to get vaccines urgently at affordable prices as per current scale, as applicable,” she added.
The central government on Monday announced that everyone above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 from May 1, liberalising the vaccination drive to allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers.