Now, Kerala plays host to the #VaccineChallenge

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 23, 2021

Raises vaccine money for CM Distress Relief Fund

Close on the heels of the #RasputinChallenge where medical college students sought to dance their way out of Covid-19 blues, Kerala is witnessing a #VaccineChallenge in which the ‘vaccine-deprived’ state is making known its frustration by donating the purchase price to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.

The online campaign challenged those who received the free vaccine dose to contribute Rs 400, the price fixed by manufacturer Serum Institute of India for every dose of its Covishield vaccine, to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund. But many had volunteered to contribute a higher amount, government sources said.

'Reflects people's attitude'

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the novel method of protests against the Centre’s cold response to the state’s demand for adequate supplies of vaccine reflects the attitude of its people who have always stood shoulder to shoulder with the government in its long-drawn fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The hashtag #VaccineChallenge is primarily propelled by supporters and enthusiasts of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the state and is aimed at raising contributions to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund to help procure vaccines even while seeking to put the Centre on notice.

Rs 1 crore flows in on Friday

The Chief Minister said the campaign had raised ₹22 lakhs on till 4 pm on the first day on Thursday. On Friday, the collection amounted to R 1 crore with individuals being joined by various organisations and institutions. Citizens giving back to the state in this manner is a rare model for the whole world, he added.

Those who contributed to the Fund in this manner have been acting on their own. The Chief Minister requested others too to take a cue and donate. Money being accrued in this manner is being credited to a separate account in the Distress Relief Fund and will be solely used for purchase of vaccine, he added.

Opposition Congress concurs

The CPI(M), majority and leading partner of the LDF, said on Thursday that the Centre had stood the free and universal vaccination regime on its head by allowing private players to decide prices.

Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala appeared to back the Chief Minister’s demand that the Centre ensure an adequate supply of vaccine doses to help stop the pandemic on its track, prevent further loss of life and save the states from economic devastation.


LDF thinktank joins protests

LDF thinktank Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP) said that the Centre has been nudging the states to go to the market and procure vaccines at a price fixed by manufacturers. It had violated the constitutional obligation to ensure free and universal vaccination and flouted a time-tested national policy.

The Parishad lauded the state’s decision to procure vaccines independently without waiting for the Centre’s generosity, as declared by the Chief Minister on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, K Surendran, BJP State President, accused the government of attempting to blame the Centre for its shortcomings. The Centre had delivered 62,42,833 doses to the State till April 21. More consignments are on the way, he said.


Published on April 23, 2021

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