COVID VACCINATION National

Vaccine policy discriminatory, Sonia Gandhi tells PM Modi

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging the modified vaccine policy was not only ‘discriminatory but also a complete abandonment of the youth’ and urged the government to reverse it.

Ms. Gandhi, in her letter, asked, “In these said times, how can the Government of India permit such brazen profiteering from people’s misery?”

She said the aim of the government should be to vaccinate everyone above 18, regardless of their economic circumstances, but “the policy implies that the Government of India has abdicated its responsibility to provide free vaccination for citizens between the age group of 18 to 45 years”.

“It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the Government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges,” she said.

On Wednesday, the Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures Covishield, announced three rate slabs: ₹150 for the Central Government, ₹400 for State Governments and ₹600 for private hospitals per dose.

“This means that citizens will be compelled to pay these high rates to be vaccinated. This will also bleed the finances of State Governments. This begs the question, how can the same vaccine manufactured by the same company have three different prices? There is no rationale or justification that allows for such arbitrary distinction,” Ms. Gandhi noted.

“At a time when medical resources are scarce, hospital beds are unavailable, oxygen supply and availability of essential medicine is dwindling rapidly, why is your Government allowing a policy that reeks of such insensitivity,” she added.

Ms. Gandhi also demanded transparency and equity with regard to the 50% quota for vaccination available with the Central government.

“The Indian National Congress has already demanded a re-evaluation of this policy. Surely, any reasonable person will agree on the benefit of a uniform price for vaccination. I would urge you to intervene immediately and reverse this ill-considered decision,” she said.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 9:55:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/vaccine-policy-discriminatory-sonia-gandhi-to-pm/article34382945.ece

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