Centre's directive to states to get vaccines from manufacturers abroad 'cynical move': Chidambaram

·2-min read

New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday slammed the Centre over 'shortage of vaccines' and said its directive to states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers abroad was a 'cynical move'.

His attack on the government came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have declined to sell coronavirus vaccines to the city government as they want to directly deal with the Centre.

A senior Punjab official said on Sunday that US-based COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna has refused to send vaccines directly to the state government stating that it only deals with the Centre.

'Is there any surprise that Pfizer and Moderna have refused to deal with states (Punjab, Delhi) and will deal only with the central government?' Chidambaram said.

The central government’s direction to states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers abroad was a 'cynical move', the former Union minister said.

'If Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not yet been ‘approved for use’ by the central government, how will they deal with or sell to the states?' he asked.

'Government has rebuffed our advice as well as the suggestion of the courts, that procurement of vaccines must be centralised,' Chidambaram said.

The Modi government is callous and cruel, he alleged.

'Meanwhile, the shortage of vaccines will continue and the people will suffer and thousands will die. What a tragedy!' Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.

Another senior Congress leader and former Union minister, Jairam Ramesh, also slammed the Centre over its vaccine policy.

'India was late to place orders because of overconfidence and hubris! The PM and his drumbeaters were busy tom-tomming their Vaccine Maitri initiative, which has flopped,' he alleged.

'The modified vaccine policy from May 1st is a massive cover-up to hide their bungling,' Ramesh tweeted.

In another tweet, he said a vaccination policy that excludes more than it includes is bound to fail.

'That’s why we said making CoWin registration mandatory for ages 18-44 is a huge mistake. While the Modi Govt seems to have made amends, the issue now is, WHERE ARE THE VACCINES?' he said, reacting to the development that on-site registration and appointment has now been enabled for the 18-44 years age group on the CoWin platform for COVID-19 vaccination.

The Congress has been critical of the government's vaccine policy and has termed it discriminatory. PTI ASK ANB ANB

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting