Sonia Gandhi rebukes Centre’s new vaccine policy, asks ‘how can govt allow such brazen profiteering?’

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The Congress President said the Centre has “abdicated its responsibility of providing free vaccines to people between 18 and 45”.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday hit out at the Centre’s new vaccination policy, saying the government has “abdicated its responsibility of providing free vaccines to people between 18 and 45”.

The Centre’s new policy has divided vaccine procurement into two halves: 50 per cent for the Centre, and 50 per cent for the open market. Through the second — non-Government of India — channel, state governments, private hospitals, and industries that have facilities to administer the vaccine, will be able to procure doses directly from manufacturers.

Following the announcement of the new rules, the Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the Covishield vaccine, had revised its prices to Rs 150 for the Centre, Rs 400 for state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals.

Saying there “is no justification towards such arbitrary distinction”, Sonia asked “How can the same vaccine be sold at three different prices? How can the Government of India permit such brazen profiteering from people’s misery?”

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she added, “At a time when medical resources are scarce, hospital beds are unavailable and oxygen supply and availability of essential medicines are dwindling rapidly, the government shouldn’t allow a policy that reeks of insensitivity. Even with regards to 50% quota for vaccines available with the Centre, the allocation must be transparent and equitable.”

The statement comes barely a week after Sonia Gandhi had said that the Centre has “mismanaged the situation” with respect to the Covid-19 vaccination strategy.

Asking the Narendra Modi-led government to re-evaluate the policy, the Congress chief said vaccines should be available at a “uniform price” and the nation’s goal should be to inoculate everyone “irrespective of their economic circumstances”.

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