Mamata Banerjee: Center decision to expand vaccination hollow as supply runs out

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticized the Centre’s policy on Covid vaccines on Tuesday, calling it “hollow”. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said there was a “Covid vaccine shortage” in her state and added that the Centre’s policy did not address “key issues” and instead engaged in a “Empty rhetoric”.

Banerjee also criticized the Centre’s decision to bring vaccines to the open market and its directive for states to deal directly with manufacturers. She said that could lead to a “price fluctuation” that the common people would have to bear the consequences. “More importantly, the supply would also become irregular as vaccine manufacturers are barely prepared to increase their production capacities to meet domestic demand,” she added.

Urging the Prime Minister to “maintain fairness” in vaccine policy, she wrote: “… the Center has announced the much delayed“ universal ”vaccine policy which appears to be hollow, devoid of substance and a regrettable demonstration of evasion of responsibility. from the central government in times of crisis. “

The CM said: “The announcement (of the Centre’s vaccine policy) does not address major issues such as ensuring quality, efficiency, a stable supply flow of the required number of vaccines by the clinicians. manufacturers and also the price at which vaccines should be purchased by the CM. States. “

Reminding the Prime Minister of her letter of February 24 in which she had requested his intervention to allow West Bengal to purchase vaccines directly with state resources and distribute them free of charge, she wrote: “Now that the number of Covid case skyrocketing in wave two, the Center has chosen to tactically engage in empty rhetoric and shirk its responsibility to make vaccines available to the people of the country.

Mamata also spoke of the “scarcity” of drugs used in the treatment of Covid-19. She urged the Center to increase the supply of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab. She said: “We need around 6,000 vials of Remdesivir and 1,000 vials of Tocilizumab per day. However, at present only 1000 vials of Remdesivir are available per day (in Bengal) and no new supply of Tocilizumab is forthcoming. Please ensure that the authorities concerned step up their efforts to ensure a regular supply of these essential medicines as soon as possible. “

Calling the government-led Narendra Modi dispensation “monumental incompetence,” Banerjee, who addressed three rallies in Murshidabad on Tuesday, said the Centre’s decision to export Covid-19 vaccines to other countries had resulted in “exhaustion” of the Indian vaccine. reservations.

The TMC chief also alleged that such an attempt by the Prime Minister to “strengthen his image” has led many states, including West Bengal, Maharashtra and the national capital Delhi, to face a “vaccine crisis” .

“The Prime Minister said the Covid vaccine would be available on the open market. Where is this free market? You have already sent a large amount of vaccines to foreign countries, ”she said, adding:“ We are facing a vaccine shortage due to poor planning at the Center. “