Evaluating Since 1 May: Govt Denies Credit to SC on Vaccine Policy
Several Opposition leaders have accredited the centralised immunisation policy to SC’s involvement.
Central agency NITI Aayog’s member of health Dr VK Paul on Tuesday, 8 June, repudiated the claims that the revision of the national vaccination policy came after the Supreme Court (SC) reprimanded the Union government over the matter.
“We respect the SC’s concern, but Government of India was evaluating implementation of decentralised model since 1 May. Such decisions are taken over a period of time, based on analysis and consultations,” Paul, was quoted by ANI.
Meanwhile, several Opposition leaders have accredited the centralised immunisation policy to the SC’s involvement.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had tweeted, “We express our gratitude to the Supreme Court as it is only after its involvement that free vaccine doses will be available in the country for all above the age of 18 years.”
What VK Paul Said
Paul has, however, asserted that the national body had held two high-level meetings with the Prime Minster on 15 and 21 May.
“He directed us to work on alternate models. It became clear that we need to modify the system prevailing at that time,” Paul said, ANI quoted.
The apex court had referred to the GoI’s 'Liberalised Vaccine Policy’ for citizens 18-44 years of age as “prima facie arbitrary and irrational”. Following the remark, the Prime Minister, in a national address, made a U-turn and announced a revised policy under which all above the age of 18 years would be eligible for free vaccines provided by the Central government.
Centre Places Order for Upcoming Biological E Vaccine
In order to launch the national inoculation drive, Paul stated that the administration has placed an order to purchase 25 crore doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin, as well as requisitioned the purchase of 30 crore doses of Biological E's new COVID vaccine, Corbevax, which will be available by September, ANI reported.
He added that the Cobervax’s scientific data is “very promising”.
“These 44 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin will be available till December 2021, starting now. Additionally, 30% of advance for procurement of both the vaccines has been released to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Paul also added, “We should wait for Biological E to announce the price of their vaccine, Corbevax. It will depend on our negotiation with the company, under the new policy. The financial aid that has been given will meet part of the price,” ANI quoted.
On vaccine prices and the responsibility now under states, Paul said, “Vaccines' price to private sectors, such as hospitals, will be decided by vaccine manufacturers. States will aggregate demand of private sector, which means they will oversee how much network of facilities it has, and how many doses it requires.”
'2nd COVID Wave Shows Signs of Subsiding': Joint Secy, Health Ministry
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry on Tuesday, 8 June, provided recent data on the country’s COVID-19 numbers. Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry said that 86,498 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours.
He added that this shows, “An almost 79% decline in cases, since the highest reported peak in daily new cases. Last week, 33% decline was seen in overall reported cases.”
As per official data, 322 districts have seen a decline in daily cases in the last one month.
“Our overall recovery rate stands at 94.3%. 1,82,000 recoveries and 4.62% positivity rate were reported in the last 24 hours. Weekly positivity rate in 15 states is less than 5%,” Agarwal said.
The recovery rate includes home isolation and treatment, as well as treatment in healthcare centres.
Recent figures also show that between 1 and 7 June, the overall positivity rate saw a decrease of 6.3%.
Additionally, the Joint Secretary informed of a 33% decline and 65% reduction in the number of cases and active cases respectively, in the last one week.
As the monsoon session of the Parliament approaches next month, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi said on Tuesday, “We are fully prepared to run the Parliament. We hope that MPs and Parliament staff will be vaccinated in July.”
Dr Randeep Guleria, the director of AIIMS Director also offered a ray of hope and said, “No data, global or Indian, has had any observations of children being affected more. Even in the second wave, kids who were infected had mild illness or co-morbidities. I don't think we will have a serious infection in children in the future.”
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