Updated: April 9, 2021 2:08:58 pm
Amid the surge of coronavirus cases across the country, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to open “vaccination for everyone who needs it” and also immediately halt exporting vaccines. He also urged the government to fast-track other vaccines
Gandhi’s letter comes at a time when various states have raised the issue of the vaccine shortage.
In the letter, Gandhi also sought more say to the state governments in vaccine procurement and distribution. He also asked for a provision of direct income support to the vulnerable sections amid the disastrous second wave of COVID-19 in India, as he extended his support to the vaccination program.
The efforts of the scientific community and vaccine makers had been undermined by the “centre’s poor implementation and oversight”, Gandhi wrote in his letter.
His suggestions came a day after Prime Minister Modi said vaccines will have to be prioritised due to limited supply and lamented that some people were playing politics on the issue. Questioning the government for permitting large-scale exports of vaccines, he said, “While our nation is facing vaccine starvation, more than six crore doses of vaccines have been exported.”
Stressing that his party supports a well-planned, universalised and speedy vaccination drive, he said, “Our vaccination program has to move beyond an individual’s picture on the vaccine certificate, towards guaranteeing maximum vaccination.” “Was the export of vaccines also an ‘oversight’, like many other decisions of this government, or an effort to garner publicity at the cost of our own citizens,” Gandhi asked.
Earlier this morning, Gandhi in a tweet questioned the export of COVID-19 vaccines, and asked if it is right to do so and put the lives of countrymen in danger. “Shortage of vaccine in view of the rise in Corona cases is a very serious problem and not a celebration,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.
During a meeting with the chief ministers on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to states to achieve 100 per cent vaccination of the 45-plus population in high-focus districts and called for a “vaccination utsav” between the birth anniversaries of icons Jyotiba Phule (April 11) and B R Ambedkar (April 14).
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