New Delhi, Mar 17 (PTI) Free universal vaccination is the only way to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the CPI(M) said on Wednesday as it called for an aggressive campaign to ensure the vaccine reaches all sections of the society.
As the virus is still spreading, vaccine for all should be the mandate of the government, the party's general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, said in a video message.
'Free universal vaccination is the only way to contain the Coronavirus pandemic. The central government must organise an aggressive campaign,' he said.
'The government has claimed that there is no dearth of the vaccines in the country. However, about three crore people have received the vaccine, while six crore vaccines have been sold abroad,' Yechury added.
He further said that while India has historically been at the forefront in helping the world with medical know-how and vaccines, it should not be done at the cost of Indian lives.
'Now Mahakumbh is coming, elections are coming, and there is fear that the virus will spread. The government should take up the vaccination programme as a massive campaign the way it had been done to create awareness for polio drops,' Yechury said.
'Hindi film actors were mobilised then. This should be done. If this doesn't happen, this virus will never be contained,' he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed concerns over a rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country, and called for 'quick and decisive' steps to check the 'emerging second peak'.
In a virtual interaction with chief ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi said that in states like Maharashtra, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, the number of COVID-19 cases has seen a rise.
Seventy districts in the country have seen an increase in the positivity rate by over 150 per cent in the last few weeks, he added, underlining his concern. PTI ASG IJT