Bear entire cost of vaccine, Congress tells Centre

D.K. Shivakumar  

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar on Thursday demanded that the Central government bear the entire cost of COVID-19 vaccination drive and free the States from the financial burden.

“The Centre should bear the entire cost of the vaccine and take the responsibility of supplying it to States. All citizens should be given free vaccination,” he told mediapersons here.

Condemning the ‘silence’ of 25 BJP MPs and their ‘failure’ to put pressure on the Centre on supplying vaccine and drugs related to the pandemic, the Congress leader said the “double engine government” (BJP government in State and Centre) had not lived up to the expectations of the people. It had not supplied vaccine, oxygen, and ventilators adequately and had not provided proper treatment to virus-infected patients.

The States, which were already financially stressed owing to lockdown, should not be burdened with having to place orders for vaccines. It was the duty of the Centre to provide vaccines to States and to ensure universal coverage free of cost, he said.

Owing to shortage of supply, Karnataka had suspended vaccination for the 18-44 years age group from May 14, till further orders.

Noting that many people had taken extreme steps owing to the COVID-induced lockdown and loss of income and jobs, the Congress leader demanded that the State government provide financial support to growers of vegetables, flowers, and fruits, small vendors, and unskilled workers in the unorganised sector.

Mr. Shivakumar, who led the party’s protest against the State government’s ‘failure’ to handle the pandemic on Wednesday, also urged Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to convene a bankers’ meet to waive interest on loans borrowed by farmers and the poor, and reduce prices of fertilizers.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:37:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bear-entire-cost-of-vaccine-congress-tells-centre/article34549145.ece

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