Coronavirus | Give emergency approval to all vaccine candidates: Sonia Gandhi to PM

Congress president Sonia Gandhi. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to allow emergency approval to all vaccine candidates and open vaccinations to people on the basis of “need and exposure instead of age”.

Ms. Gandhi, who wrote the letter after interacting with Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled States last week, flagged concerns regarding the availability of the vaccines with State governments.

At a separate press conference, the Congress said at least 30 crore of India’s population had co-morbidities like hyper-tension, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases, and asked the Modi government to give a timeline by when these vulnerable groups would be vaccinated.

Party spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said though Prime Minister Modi and his Ministers were expected to set up a ‘war room’ to tackle the second wave of COVID, “they were busy in the battle for Bengal”.

On a day when the Centre approved the Russian vaccine, Sputinik, the Congress also launched an online campaign for “vaccination for all”.

“While it will be necessary on the one hand to substantially ramp up our domestic production capacity, it will also be prudent to allow emergency use authorisation of all the vaccine candidates that have the required clearances, without any further delay. Accordingly, with enhanced availability, categories eligible for vaccination should be expanded on the basis of need and exposure rather than just age,” Ms. Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister.

“In the same vein, the numbers allocated to a State has to be based on the prevalence and projection of infection in that particular State,” she added, noting that some States had vaccines to last only three to five days.

As States talked about travel restrictions, closures and lockdowns, Ms. Gandhi appealed to Mr. Modi to consider putting in place a minimum monthly guaranteed income scheme of ₹6,000 for every eligible family. She also asked for exemption from Goods and Services Tax (GST) for all equipment, instruments and medicines being used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earier in the day, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “The country needs vaccines against coronavirus. You also raise your voice for this — everyone has the right to have a safe life. Speak up for vaccination for all”.

Sharing a video, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted, “Because the vaccine is for everyone. Because the government should pay more attention to the public than organising events. Because everyone has the right to know where the PM Care funds are being spent. Because instead of exporting the vaccine, the government should focus on vaccinating every citizen”.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:42:18 AM |

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