Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, on Wednesday, 2 June, appealed to the central government to provide free vaccines to all Indian citizens.
"Having seen the statement by the government that everyone will be vaccinated by the end of December, while seeing the availability or the lack thereof of our vaccines, I wonder how the government is going to get there," Tharoor said in a video posted on Twitter.
Amid severe criticism over the shortage of vaccines to mitigate the pandemic, the Centre had claimed last month that the government will be in a position to vaccinate the entire adult population of India by December 2021.
“Between August and December 2021, India will have procured 216 crore vaccine doses, while by July this year, 51 crore doses will be procured,” Union Minister Harsh Vardhan had said on 21 May.
However, many Opposition leaders, including AAP's Raghav Chadha and INC's Tharoor, have raised an alarm over the country's the slow rate of vaccination.
Moreover, with the prime minister announcing the differential pricing policy under Phase 3 of the vaccination drive, which began on 1 May, states have been left to inoculate their citizens in the 18 to 44 age group by themselves.
What Did Tharoor Say in the Video?
Furthering the INC's campaign calling for change in the Indian government's vaccination policy, Tharoor implored the Centre to "permit universal vaccination of all Indians within the promised deadline of December, and to do so free of cost" in his video.
“It is unacceptable that this government should be demanding that states, private hospitals and others compete in some sort of market free for all to buy vaccines at different prices, extortionate prices in some cases.”Congress MP Shashi Tharoor
Tharoor also indicated that the central government had initially posed an arrangement to buy vaccines at affordable prices and give them to the public for free. The Kerala MP suggested that the government should abide by this previous scheme, pushing for "a universal and free vaccination policy" to save the nation from COVID.
"I've been through a lot. I don't want my fellow citizens to suffer even a fraction of what I have done, and certainly not to do worse than me as so many have in the tragedy that has unfolded in our nation," Tharoor said in the video.
Tharoor had tested positive for COVID-19 infection on 21 April and has been recovering from the disease ever since.
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