Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, on Wednesday, wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and urged to make COVID-19 vaccine accessible to all above 18 years.
In the letter, Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote: "India has a large population in the age group of 18-45 that needs the vaccine beyond its want. Nobody wants to be in a dilemma of staying home or catching COVID while out of home and hence the need may be termed as a want. The vaccine is the basic right of every Indian especially those who are working, and yet are being forced to stay home as they can get infected and unknowingly spread COVID to others in the family."
She urged the Union Government to make the vaccine universally available to those below 45, at least till the age of 18.
"I urge you to review this stance of the ministry and make the vaccine universally available to those below 45, at least till the age of 18, so that they can be vaccinated and resume working safely," Priyanka Chaturvedi said.
Priyanka Chaturvedi further added that she was shocked to hear about the distinction being made between "need" and "want" for vaccines. "It was quite shocking to hear about the distinction being made, during a press conference yesterday, between "need" and "want" for vaccines in India as requested by Chief Ministers from various states of India. I sincerely hope that your kind self does not subscribe to this view," she wrote.
"The need and want from all Indians, across all states and age groups is genuine, and this need arises so as to reduce the intensity of the COVID cases being reported across the country. Many countries around the world have begun mass vaccination for all adults on a war footing to ensure maximum coverage," she added.
Priyanka Chaturvedi also urged the Union Government to provide more vaccines to Maharashtra.
"Furthermore, Sir, my state of Maharashtra currently ranks at the top of the table in vaccination. The speed of vaccination and the volume also means that many districts have run out of vaccines and other districts have stocks that would last only for about 48 hours," Priyanka Chaturvedi said.
"With the most transparent testing and reporting methods, we have a high number of cases and the State is managing the facilities on its own, but with the highest number of vaccine shots administered, we need the Union Government to release more vaccines to Maharashtra in time so that we can keep up the Government of India's drive to safeguard as many citizens as possible," she added.
The state government on Tuesday said that Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to administer over 80 lakh doses of anti-COVID 19 vaccines to eligible beneficiaries since the rollout of the inoculation drive.
Till April 5, 81,21,332 people have been vaccinated in the state, state Health Secretary Pradeep Vyas told a review meeting chaired by state Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte to take stock of the ongoing vaccination drive.
Daily, four lakh people were vaccinated in Maharashtra, an official statement said.
Maharashtra had received 1.06 crore doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, out of which 88 lakh doses have been used while the wastage stood at 3 per cent, it said.
The state government will vigorously pursue its demand for more stock of vaccine doses considering the rapid rise in the cases and expansion of the vaccination drive, the statement said.