Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the new policy on vaccine distribution and provide the required quantity of vaccines free of cost to the state governments.
Referring to the policy that the manufacturers would have to make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments and in open market, Vijayan said states have been asked to get vaccines from the manufactures at a price. “The state governments are already facing additional financial commitments due to the pandemic. The additional burden of purchasing vaccines will place considerable strain on state finances,’’ he said.
The union government had stated that 50 per cent of the vaccine doses are to be earmarked for the central government, and the balance 50 per cent is to be distributed to state governments and in the open market.
Vijayan said the states have Constitutional obligation in the health sector and do need an assured quota of vaccines which has to be provided free in the pandemic situation. It is imperative that vaccines are to be provided free of cost to the states.
He said though the policy states that the central government would provide vaccine free of cost to the state governments from the 50 per cent of the quota based on the criteria, the states require a reassurance that they would not be left to compete with open market players.
He said open market distributors may be permitted to have a specified quota of the vaccines, for which affordable price has to be fixed so that unscrupulous players do not exploit the public.
Vijayan also urged the Prime Minister to allot Kerala 50 lakh doses of vaccines for implementing the state’s mega vaccination plan.