Vaccines are Public Good, Should be Given to States for Free: Pinarayi Vijayan to PM

The states need reassurance that they will not be left to compete with open market players. It is imperative that vaccines are provided to the states as a public good, free of cost," says the letter.

vaccines
PC: national herald

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan writes to PM Modi urging him to reconsider the Centre’s new policy on COVID19 vaccine distribution.

In his letter to PM Modi welcomed the Government of India’s move to make vaccines available to everyone above the age of 18.

While he thanked the centre for its support and guidance in ensuring smooth vaccination in the state so far, he also brought to notice the 50 lakh vaccine doses request from the centre, needed to implement the vaccine plan. Kerala has only received 5.5 lakh doses so far, due to which the government was forced to stop on the spot registration, affecting efforts to deal with the rapid surge, he said and urged the Centre to allot the balance doses at the earliest.

In the centre’s new policy on vaccine distribution, state governments have been asked to get vaccine directly from the manufacturers for a price.

Pinarayi Vijayan said- States are already facing additional financial commitments from the consequences of the pandemic and should not be burdened with the cost of vaccines and should be given to the public free of cost.  The states need reassurance that they will not be left to compete with open market players to get the vaccine, he says.

As the economic downturn is still persisting, the additional burden of purchasing the vaccine will place considerable strain on State finances”, he said in the letter, a copy of which was released to the media.

“The state governments have Constitutional obligation in the health sector and do need an assured quota of COVID19 vaccine which has to be provided free in the pandemic situation. It is imperative that vaccines are provided to the states as a public good, free of cost,” says the letter.

Though the policy states the Centre will provide vaccine free of cost to state governments from its 50 per cent quota based on criteria, states need reassurance that they will not be left to compete with open market players, he said.

”Instead of having a Government of India channel, we need to have a Government channel which will include the State Governments through whom the vaccine will be distributed”, the CM said.

With Kerala’s COVID-19 cases continuing to soar, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, urging the Centre to provide the entire quantity of vaccines needed by state governments free of cost.

Vijayan urged the Prime Minister to reconsider this aspect of the new policy on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and provide the entire quantity of vaccine needed free of cost to state governments.

With Kerala witnessing the second wave of COVID-19 and each day witnessing a substantial surge, Vijayan said the Centre and the states have to ”work together” to crush the rising curve of cases.

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