Covid: AAP, BJP spar over vaccine availability

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New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) The AAP on Monday alleged that the Centre is playing with the lives of people and doing business by allowing just two companies to manufacture Covid vaccines, a claim dismissed by the Delhi BJP as 'emotional bluff'.

Addressing a press conference, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said the party demands that the BJP-ruled central government immediately begin the vaccination programme across the country on a war footing.

'The BJP-ruled central government lied to the people of our country by saying that states can float global tenders for vaccine procurement. But these companies have informed states that they cannot give us vaccines without the Centre's approval,' he alleged.

'Around 85 countries are using Pfizer's vaccine, around 46 countries are using Moderna's vaccine, and around 41 countries are using the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson.

'However, the BJP-ruled central government has not allowed any of these companies to manufacture vaccines in our country,' said Bhardwaj.

'The BJP-ruled Centre is only indulging in business by allowing just two companies to manufacture vaccines in India and are playing with the lives of Indians,' Bhardwaj said.

Reacting sharply to the allegations, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj's statement on lack of vaccines and India seeking permission for foreign vaccines is 'one more emotional bluff' by Aam Aadmi Party.

'No doubt providing early vaccination for all including children and the youth is important but playing politics on the issue is not appropriate.

'It is strange that Bhardwaj and other leaders are so active to get permission for foreign manufacturers but go silent when asked to give evidence of giving any confirmed order along with advance payment to either Bharat Biotech or Serum Institute of India -- the two Indian vaccine manufacturers -- which speaks volumes on the Delhi government's credibility in the matter,' he said.

'AAP leaders speaking for foreign vaccines should remember that apart from being costlier, the foreign vaccines have other technical problems too like the necessity of having a very low storage temperature,' Kapoor said.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the central government of 'mismanaging' the coronavirus vaccination programme, saying it has asked states to float global tenders for jabs without giving approval to vaccines of foreign companies.

The Deputy Chief Minister in a letter to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also charged that vaccination for the youth in the country has been 'messed' up due to policy 'missteps'. PTI UZM VIT TDS TDS

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