National

Kerala CM says cannot compete with private sector

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on April 21, 2021

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to reconsider the Centre’s new policy on Covid vaccine distribution.

The States need reassurance that they will not be left to compete with open market players to get the vaccine, the Chief Minister said. “The State governments have a constitutional obligation in the health sector and do need an assured quota of Covid-19 vaccine which has to be provided free in the pandemic situation. It is imperative that vaccines are provided to the States as a public good, free of cost,” says the letter.

“Given the present scenario, we have to provide vaccines to the public at free of cost. As the economic downturn is still persisting, the additional burden of purchasing vaccines will place considerable strain on States’ finances”, he said.

Though the policy states that the Centre will provide vaccine free of cost to the State governments from its 50 per cent quota based on criteria, the States need a reassurance that they will not be left to compete with open market players. “Instead of having a Government of India channel, we need to have a government channel which will include the State governments through whom the vaccine will be distributed”, Vijayan said.

Published on April 20, 2021

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