NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday wrote to PM Narendra Modi, demanding an immediate moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine exports and opening up of the vaccination to “everyone who needs it”, while Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at him, claiming the shortage in the Congress-ruled states was not of vaccines but commitment.
In the letter, Gandhi sought more say to the state governments in vaccine procurement and distribution. He also asked for a provision of direct income support to the vulnerable sections amid the second wave of Covid-19 in India, as he extended his support to the vaccination drive.
“I humbly request you to provide vaccine suppliers with necessary resources to increase manufacturing capacity and place an immediate moratorium on vaccine export,” Gandhi said.
“Open up vaccination to everyone who needs it,” he demanded, seeking fast-tracking of approval of other vaccines as per norms. Prasad took a potshot at the Congress leader, wondering “after failing as a part-time politician, has Gandhi switched to full-time lobbying”.
“First, he lobbied for fighter plane companies by trying to derail India’s acquisition programme. Now, he is lobbying for pharma by asking for arbitrary approvals for foreign vaccines,” tweeted Prasad.
“Rahul must know that shortage in the Congress-ruled states is not of vaccines but basic commitment towards healthcare. He should write letters to his party’s governments to stop their vasooli ventures and concentrate on administering the vaccines they are sitting upon,” added Prasad.