Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday questioned the Centre’s move to allow private hospital charge people Rs.250/ for the Covid-19 vaccine dosage, the Phase-2 of which was launched nationwide on March 1.
A person aged above 45 with co-morbidities or over 60-years old can get inoculated at a designated private centre for Rs.250 per dose in the second phase.
Taking umbrage at this, Chavan said that in the Phase-1, the Centre had procured 1.65 crore doses of the vaccine at a cost of Rs.210/dose.
“As per the Feb. 1 Budget speech of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Rs. 35,000-crore has been allocated for the vaccination drive. In this amount, at the cost of Rs.210/dose, more than 1.50 billion doses can be procured,” Chavan said.
These 1.60 billion doses can help inoculate 75 crore of the Indians, covering almost the entire adult population of the country, and hence if budgetary provisions are made, then why the charges (Rs.250) are being levied (in private hospitals), Chavan asked.
He pointed out that in countries like USA, UK or Canada, citizens are getting free vaccines either by budgetary provisions or through insurance companies.
“I demand that all beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (Aayushman Bharat) must be given free Covid-19 vaccines,” Chavan said.
Taking a jibe at the government, the former union minister and state Chief Minister said that “despite lofty budgetary announcements and India being the largest supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine, the Modi Government is digging into the common man’s pocket” with the vaccine charges.
In a related development, the Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI) has urged the Centre and Maharashtra government to declare the hospitality sector workers as ‘frontline warriors’ for priority vaccination, said its Vice-President G. S. Kohli.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra witnessed huge crowds for the Phase-2 Vaccination drive at all designated hospitals/centres in the state with senior citizens turning up in large numbers to get inoculated.