Ahead of the US presidential elections scheduled for 3 November, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday, 23 October said that if he were to be elected, he would mandate COVID-19 vaccines be free for all Americans, according to AFP.
"Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, it has to be free to everyone -- whether or not you're insured," Biden said in a speech on Friday as he spoke about his pandemic response plan.
CNN reported that the former vice president, who has often criticised US President Donald Trump over his attitude about COVID-19 said that if elected, said that he would direct the federal government to "bulk-purchase as many doses as necessary of the COVID-19 vaccine so we can provide it free to those who are uninsured, under-insured or Medicaid-eligible."
Biden added that his plan would also involve asking governors to make masks mandatory in their states, have a national testing plan in place as well as increasing the production and distribution of PPEs.
President Trump, who is behind Biden in the polls, has also stressed that a vaccine should be free, AFP reported. At Thursday evening’s final presidential debate, he claimed that a vaccine was only week’s away.
BJP’s Poll Promise in Bihar
Meanwhile, closer home, in India, the BJP's manifesto for the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls, unveiled on Thursday, promised free COVID-19 vaccination for all the people in the state once a vaccine is approved, if elected.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released the party’s poll manifesto, stating that "as soon as the coronavirus vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination."
Opposition political parties and their leaders called out the announcement as "appalling cynicism", "blatant populism", and questioned what will happen in non-BJP-ruled states.
On the same day, following in the BJP’s footprints, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami too announced that once the vaccine is developed, it will be administered free of cost to the people of the state, with the government bearing all costs. Soon after, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the poor people in the state would be given the vaccine free of cost.
(With inputs from AFP and CNN.)
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