In a letter addressed to Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, 12 May, urged the Centre to import vaccines on an urgent basis in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Banerjee also suggested that vaccine manufacturers may be encouraged to open franchises is West Bengal and other parts of India.
Citing experts, Banerjee stated that vaccination is now the “real antidote” to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"“Liberal, pro-active, and discerning import of vaccination is the paramount need today,” " - Mamata Banerjee, in a letter to PM Modi
This letter comes amid a horrific nationwide second wave of COVID-19, with West Bengal recording its highest single day spike of 20,377 new cases, and India reporting 3,29,942 new cases, on Wednesday evening.
Mamata Stresses on Urgent Vaccine Import
Pointing out, “It seems that the production (and hence, the supply and distribution) of vaccines in the country is extremely inadequate, and insignificant in the context of the massive needs of people at large,” Mamata Banerjee stated:
About 10 crore people in WB and 140 crore people in India need vaccination “here and now, but only a microscopic percentage has been covered.”
Reports indicate there are a multitude of vaccine manufacturers globally. It is possible for India to identify “reputed and authentic manufacturers”, with the help of scientists and experts and speedily import vaccines from across different parts of the world.
Liberal, pro-active, and discerning import of vaccination is the paramount need today.
Suggests Bulk Mode for Vaccine Production; Offers Support in WB
The WB CM also suggested that both national, as well as international vaccine manufacturers may be encouraged to open franchises in West Bengal and other parts of India.
“Even the national players could be inspired to go for the franchise mode for bulk production of vaccines,” said Banerjee, adding:
“We, in West Bengal, are ready to produce land and support for any manufacturer in/ franchise operation for authentic vaccine manufacturing.”
A joint letter by 12 Opposition parties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, said that the COVID-19 pandemic in India “has assumed unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe” and demanded action on several fronts such as expansion of vaccine production and procurement and the repeal of the Centre’s new farm laws.
The letter has been signed by Opposition leaders such as Sonia Gandhi, HD Deve Gowda, Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray, Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Hemant Soren, Farooq Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, D Raja, and Sitaram Yechury.
Saying that despite the parties, individually or collectively, having drawn the government’s attention to several issues, no action had been taken on these fronts, the letter demanded that measures on some fronts be “undertaken on a war footing” by the Centre.
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