Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the new COVID-19 vaccination policy was not only discriminatory but also a complete abandonment of the youth. The Congress leader urged the government to reverse the ill-considered decision.
In the letter addressing to the Prime Minister, Gandhi wrote, “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.”
The Congress leader said that 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. This is a complete abandonment of the government’s responsibility towards our youth.
“As a consequence of this policy, the vaccine manufacturer, i.e., the Serum Institute of India announced a differential pricing mechanism today, viz., Rs 150 per dose for the Central Government, Rs 400 per dose for state government and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals,” the letter reads.
She said that the citizens will be compelled to pay these high rates to be vaccinated and this will also bleed the finances of the state government.
Saying there “is no justification towards such arbitrary distinction, she asked, “How can the same vaccine manufactured by the same company have three different prices?”
She further criticized the government and said at a time when medical resources are scarce, hospital beds are unavailable, oxygen supply and availability of essential medicine is dwindling rapidly, why your government is allowing a policy that reeks of such insensitivity.
“Furthermore, in these unprecedented times, how can the Government of India permit such brazen profiteering from people’s misery? 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,” Gandhi said.
“Even with regards to the fifty percent quota for vaccination available with the Central Government, the allocation must be transparent and equitable, in line with the spirit of cooperative federalism,” she added.
Asking the government to re-evaluate the policy, the Congress chief said vaccines should be available at a uniform price and the nation’s goal should be to inoculate everyone irrespective of their economic circumstances.
This comes a day after the Serum Institute of India (SII) fixed the prices of the Covishield vaccine at Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.