CM Vijayan Urges CMs of 11 States to Press Centre Over COVID Jabs

CM Vijayan said that as a public good, the vaccine should be provided free of cost and should be accessible to all.

2 min read
File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, 31 May, reached out to the chief ministers of 11 non-BJP states, stressing the need for jointly taking up the issue of procuring vaccines for all with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Wrote to 11 CMs in the spirit of Cooperative Federalism. Quite unfortunate that Centre absolves itself of its duty to procure vaccines, ensure free universal vaccination.United effort to jointly pursue our genuine demand is the need of the hour, so that Centre acts immediately," CM Vijayan tweeted.

CM Vijayan pointed out that he had earlier written to PM Modi on the merits of the Centre taking the lead in assessing vaccine requirements of the states and floating a global tender considering the needs of all states.

He also stated that as a public good, the vaccine should be provided free of cost and should be accessible to all.

“The need of the hour is a united effort from our side to put forth the genuine demand that the Centre should procure vaccine needed by the states and distribute them free of cost. This will be more cost effective as well,” Vijayan stated in the letter.

Saying that experts have been warning of a third COVID-19 wave, Vijayan pointed out that the country needs to boost preparation and vigil for this eventuality. If the states are required to procure the vaccines on their own, their financial strength will be in dire straits, the CM wrote.

"Fiscal strength of the States is an essential part of a healthy federal setup. If the states' finances are hamstrung, federalism itself will be weakened and this will not augur well for a democratic polity like ours. Further, this will impede the efforts for early building of herd immunity," he said.

Vijayan added that India has public sector pharmaceutical companies capable of manufacturing the vaccine and the Centre should take necessary steps to ensure that patent laws do not to stand in their way.


Vaccine Shortage Across States

CM Pinarayi Vijayan sent the letter to his counterparts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Maharashtra.

Amid an acute vaccine shortage, several states including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh have decided to float global tenders for the procurement of COVID vaccines.

After a premature victory was declared over COVID-19, with India having exported around 60 million doses of the COVID vaccine, the country is now facing a severe vaccine shortage amid a second wave that has wreaked havoc in India.

With the PM announcing the differential pricing policy under Phase 3 of the vaccination drive, which began on 1 May, states have been left to vaccinate its citizens in the 18 to 44 year old age group by themselves.

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