CM says it is unfortunate that the Center is shirking its responsibility to provide vaccines to the states.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to non-BJP chief ministers for a concerted move to address the vaccine issue. The letter was sent to the chief ministers of 11 states – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
In the letter, the Chief Minister requested the states to jointly demand that the vaccine be procured directly by the Center and distributed free of cost. The letter said the Centre’s unfortunate approach was to wash its hands of its responsibility to make the vaccine available to the states as the country goes through the second wave of Kovid.
“The central position is that states should find the vaccine on their own. However, the vaccine is only available in very limited quantities. Foreign pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, are reluctant to enter into agreements with state governments to make the vaccine available. Therefore, considering the demand for the vaccine in all the states, the Center had sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Kerala requesting him to call for a global tender, ”the CM said.
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“Experts say there is a possibility of a third wave after the second wave. If so, be prepared to face it. For that, it is important to develop hardy immunity through universal vaccination. ”
“Therefore, the vaccine must be made available universally for the common good. No one can be denied the vaccine because they do not have the money. ”
“If the full responsibility for stockpiling the vaccine falls on the states, the economic status of the states will be in jeopardy. It is important to ensure the financial security of the states in the federal system in India. Challenging it will weaken our federal system and harm democracy itself. ”
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“Apart from this, it will create obstacles in the development of hard immunity,” the CM said.
“Large sections of the population need to be vaccinated if they are to develop a hereditary immunity. However, only 3.1 percent of people in the country have received two doses of the vaccine so far. “
“Vaccine manufacturers, on the other hand, are trying to maximize profits, given the scarcity of vaccine availability,” he said. There are many public sector companies in India that can produce vaccines. ”
“The Central Government must ensure that intellectual property rights, patent laws and agreements do not preclude the manufacture of vaccines that are made available for the public good. The central government should explore the possibilities, including compulsory licensing, ”he said.
“Statements that state the full responsibility for vaccine availability challenge the very basic tenets of cooperative federalism. What is most urgent at this stage is to jointly put forward the legitimate demand of the States that the vaccine be procured directly by the Center and distributed free of charge to the States. This will reduce the cost, ”the CM said in the letter.