Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the government has not learnt any lesson from the past and its vaccine policy is arbitrary and discriminatory.
In her letter to the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi said, “It’s surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and pain inflicted to our citizens, the government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy which promises to exacerbate existing challenges.”
The Congress President said that the policy implies that the government has “abdicated” its responsibility for free vaccination to all.
She asked why the government is allowing profiteering by the companies manufacturing the vaccine in the country.
The Congress demanded that there should be free vaccination for all regardless of the economic condition and the policy should be reversed as there should be uniform pricing of the vaccine.
Sonia Gandhi’s letter comes in the wake of the Serum Institute of India (SII) announcing on Wednesday that Covishield vaccine will be sold at Rs 400 per dose to the state government and Rs 600 to private hospitals.
The SII, an Indian biotechnology and pharmaceuticals company, issued a statement after the government allowed vaccination of all persons above the age of 18 from May 1. The decision was announced after a meeting of the Prime Minister with pharma companies, doctors, Cabinet ministers in-charge of health, drugs and officials spanning multiple nodal ministries.
Serum chief Adar Poonawalla welcomed the government’s announcement to accelerate India’s vaccination drive. “The promising directives will help to scale up vaccine production, and allow state governments, private hospitals, and vaccination centres to procure vaccines directly,” Poonawalla said.
He added that for the next two months, they will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production.