Days after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to 11 non-BJP chief ministers seeking a united effort to centralise the vaccination drive, Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy replied to his Kerala counterpart and 28 other chief ministers. He urged everyone to speak in one voice and support a centralised and coordinated vaccination drive throughout the country.
In his letter, Jagan echoed that several states feel they aren’t getting enough vaccines and those who have floated global tenders including Andhra Pradesh, haven’t received desired response from Pfizer and Moderna.
"Our sharpest weapon against Coronavirus is the vaccine. We had gone for a global tender in order to procure the vaccines directly in line with our commitment to vaccinate everybody free of cost. But to our dismay no one quoted. Situation has turned into Union Vs States as approval authority is government of India,” Jagan wrote, while also highlighting that the decision of giving states a larger say in the vaccination procurement was ‘unwarranted’ and has led to significant deviation of resources from augmenting healthcare capacities.
Without taking any sides, Jagan further added, "The need of the hour is vaccine availability. It is my request that as Chief Ministers we speak in a single voice and urge the Government of India to take charge and responsibility of the vaccination drive, the way it was happening in the early part of the year.”
Andhra Pradesh has joined the league of states which have crossed 1 crore vaccinations, with a population of over 25 lakh beneficiaries who are fully vaccinated. However, the short supply of vaccines continues to be a big bottleneck which is one of the major reasons why the state hasn't started inoculating people in 18 to 44 age group, which has about 2.0 crore identified beneficiaries.
While Pinarayi Vijayan made an appeal to all non-BJP CMs, last week, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also wrote to all state chief ministers and urged all states to come together to form consensus on the matter in the true spirit of cooperative federalism to save lives and livelihoods.