Why vaccination plan will fail, Baghel spells out CMs' worry

New Delhi: Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has written a letter to Prime Minister Modi on why the vaccination programme for the 18-45 group will fail at the pace at which the state government will get the vaccine supplies from only two manufacturers in the country.

Chhattisgarh, which is among the states that declared free vaccination, has ordered the first lot of 25 lakh doses each from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech. In its e-mail reply, the Bharat Biotech informed that it would try to supply 25 lakh doses by the end of July.

"If the company wants three months to supply just 25 lakh does, it will take an entire year to meet the state's demand of 2.60 cr doses to inoculate the entire population of 18-44 age group and that will defeat the very purpose of the vaccination," says Baghel in his letter written to the PM on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the state has the capacity to vaccinate 3 lakh persons per day and it has already inoculated 72% of the total 56.7 lakh people who are above 45 years of age. More than 54 lakh persons have been already vaccinated.

Baghel said he had written to the Prime Minister's Office, the Health Minister and the two manufacturers to understand the availability of the vaccine, its pricing and other information, but only Bharat Biotech responded.

He has sought the response from the PM on five points:

-- Inform the states on the Centre's scheme to vaccinate all above 18 years of age from May 1 and the method for its practical implementation;

-- All states should be allotted the vaccines on the basis of their population, positivity ratio and active patient ratio to ensure the vaccination begins across the states at the same time;

-- Apropos your assurance on the vaccine prices, adopt "one vaccine, one price" across the nation to enable the developing states like Chhattisgarh can spend money also on other important matters;

-- Remove all taxes on the Covid vaccine since it is the life-saving drug; and

-- The nation will need 150-200 crore doses to cover the entire population of 18+, but the production capacity of Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech seems indequate to meet the country's requirement speedily. The Centre should encourage other companies to produce the vaccines to ensure there is no delay that defeats the very purpose of the vaccination.

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Free Press Journal