Amid shortage in supply of vaccines to fight coronavirus pandemic, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday wrote to his counterparts in all non-BJP ruled states and requested them to make a “united effort” to demand the Centre to procure Covid-19 vaccines and distribute them at free of cost.
The letter was written to the Chief Ministers of 11 states such as Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
“When the nation is passing through the second surge, it is quite unfortunate that there appears to be an attempt by the Centre to absolve itself of its bounden duty to provide adequate supply of vaccine to the States,” the letter reads.
The Chief Minister also pointed out that if the burden of procuring vaccine is left to fall entirely or even substantially on the States, their fiscal situation will be in dire straits.
“Herd immunity will be effective only when a substantial section of the population is vaccinated. As on date, only 3-4 per cent of the people have been administered two doses of Covid-19 vaccine,” he mentioned.
He also stated that vaccine manufacturing firms are engaged in looking for financial gains by exploiting the scarce supply situation. “Foreign pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to enter into agreement with the States for procuring vaccine. India has public sector pharmaceutical companies which are capable of taking up the production of vaccine,” he said in his letter.
He also asked the central government to take necessary steps to ensure that intellectual property lawyers rights and patent laws and conventions do not stand in the way of manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine, which should have the status of a public good. “Options like compulsory licensing should be explored by the Union Government,” he added.