Pilot raises questions over different rates for COVID vaccine

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Jaipur, Apr 22 (PTI) Congress leader and former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot hit out at the Centre over the pricing of COVID vaccines on Thursday, saying different rates for the same vaccine will create problems for people in the future.

A policy of 'one nation, one vaccine, one rate' should be followed at this hour, he added.

Pilot said at a time when the country is witnessing a single-day rise of over three lakh COVID-19 cases, everyone will have to focus on saving lives.

'Politics and elections come and go but future generations will not forgive us if the public does not get vaccinated in time and all the needy patients do not get oxygen and life-saving medicines like Remdesivir,' he said in a statement.

Questioning the determination of different rates of the vaccine, the former Union minister said the difference in the prices of the same vaccine has raised questions in the public mind.

'By fixing three prices of the same vaccine, the Government of India has put the public in great difficulty for the future. It is a very strange decision that the same vaccine will be supplied to the Government of India for Rs 150, state governments for Rs 400 and private hospitals for Rs 600.

'One Nation-One Vaccine-One Price is the biggest need today to control the hoarding and black-marketing of the vaccine,' he said.

Pilot said the state governments are already grappling with their resources in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases and the cost of the vaccine should be borne by the Centre.

Questioning the export of six crore doses of the vaccine, he said it is regrettable that other countries placed their supply orders to the Indian manufacturer even before the government of India.

The Congress leader expressed concern over the management of oxygen and said despite India being one of the world's leading oxygen manufacturers, the government was not able to provide oxygen to patients on time.

He said the Centre, over a year, allowed the export of 9,300 metric tonnes of oxygen but could not make adequate arrangements for a smooth and timely supply of oxygen to every hospital.

Pilot also expressed concern on the shortage of Remdesivir injections and questioned the government's decision to export 11 lakh Remdesivir injections in the last six months. PTI SDA RC