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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Delhi Covid-19 vaccine: In talks for Sputnik V, but no commitment on quantity yet, says Arvind Kejriwal

Lashing out against the Centre, Arvind Kejriwal said that asking states to make their own preparations was akin to leaving states to their own devices during a war and asking them if they had made arrangements.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 26, 2021 2:45:48 pm
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses the media virtually, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday said that talks were underway to get the Sputnik V vaccine in the capital but a call on the number of doses has not been taken yet.

“Moderna and Pfizer have said that their trials are complete and their vaccines are suitable for children. The Centre should not delay any further and grant permission to use these international vaccines. We have also been in talks with those manufacturing the Sputnik V vaccine. They have said they will provide it to us but there has been no commitment on the numbers yet,” Kejriwal said.

Lashing out against the Centre, Kejriwal said that asking states to make their own preparations was akin to leaving states to their own devices during a war and asking them if they had made arrangements. He also said that not a single state has been successful in procuring vaccines through global tenders as international players had told them they will not deal with state governments.

“The Centre will have to show a sense of urgency and will have to carry out the vaccination programme on a war footing. The situation we are in at present, where states are being asked to make their own arrangements, is like Pakistan declaring war on us tomorrow and the Centre asking if Delhi has made a nuclear bomb or if UP has bought tanks? This is not how it should happen. It is the Centre’s responsibility to procure vaccines. If the Centre gives enough vaccine doses to us and we fail to open vaccination centres, it will be our fault. But if the centre fails to procure vaccines, and tells us to procure vaccines, how will it work? We are in a war-like situation today. We are fighting a war against Corona. The states have their responsibility and the Centre has its own. The Centre can’t shrug off its responsibilities and tell states to make their own arrangements. This is wrong,” he said.

The CM was speaking at the inauguration of a drive-in vaccination facility at Dwarka, which will be run by Akash Healthcare.

Kejriwal also said that Delhi will soon get a government drive-in facility at Chhatrasal Stadium, and many others, but the supply of vaccines was an issue.

“Vaccines by companies such as Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson can be given clearance within 24 hours, why is it not being done? The Centre is asking states to procure directly. The state governments have tried. Not a single state government has been successful in getting any of these vaccines. This was the job of the centre, which states have now been asked to do. State governments have made efforts, they have floated global tenders, they are speaking to all companies but the companies have refused to speak to us and say they will deal with the Centre,” he said.

He added that the country had made mistakes in procurement and production and are 6 months behind the rest of the world.

“We didn’t plan and ramp up production on time. In the US, UK and Israel large number of people have been vaccinated and they are benefitting from this. But let’s forget that now. We have to plan for the future but the sense of urgency is missing,” he said.

Speaking about the lockdown, Kejriwal said the linking the unlock process to the vaccination drive would not be possible since there is a shortage across the country.

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