(adds details) Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 2 (PTI) The Kerala Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the Centre provide COVID-19 vaccines free of cost to all states, even as the ruling and opposition members clashed over the COVID-19 fatality numbers in the state.
Minister for Health, Women and Child Welfare Veena George moved the resolution in the House as the state reels under acute vaccine shortage.
This was the second unanimous resolution passed in the first session of the 15th Legislative Assembly led by the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
The first one was in the matter of the Lakshadweep islands seeking recall of the administrator.
The resolution also requested the central government for timely distribution of the vaccines.
'In order to fight COVID-19, we need to provide free universal vaccination which will ensure that all sections of the society are protected from the virus,' George said.
She noted that the first wave of COVID-19 had weakened the economy and now the country was facing the second wave.
'If we could take necessary steps for speeding up the vaccination, it would help the economy also,' she said and urged everyone to join hands to combat the pandemic and ensure universal vaccination.
George said it was part of the national policy to provide free vaccines to combat infectious diseases but the central government has taken steps against it.
Setting aside their political differences, members of the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-headed United Democratic Front unanimously backed the resolution after suggesting minor changes.
Meanwhile, the Assembly witnessed a war of words between the ruling and opposition after Congress leaders alleged that the state government was fudging COVID-19 fatality numbers.
'The Opposition is trying to defame the Left government.While only one case (patient) is being reported at the national level for every 22 persons, in Kerala it is one in three.Is this how the opposition is supporting the government in the fight against the pandemic,' George asked in the Assembly.
Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan alleged that the directions of the ICMR on calculating the number of deaths of COVID-19 patients were being violated in the state.
'Those deserving families entitled to get the compensation from the government should not be avoided saying they were not included in the COVID-19 death list. The reason for the death should be decided by the doctors who treated the patient and not a medical team,' Satheeshan said.
Satheeshan claimed that those who recovered from COVID-19 but passed away due to post-COVID complications are not considered as having died due to COVID.
'The death confirmation protocol must be changed,' Satheesan said in the Assembly as part of an adjournment motion but reiterated that the Opposition was fully supporting the government in the fight against the pandemic.
However, George said the government was following the directions issued by the ICMR in ascertaining the Covid deaths in the state and has not deviated from it.PTI RRT BN BALA BN BALA