NEW DELHI: Terming vaccine universalisation and vaccine nationalism need of the hour, AAP leader Raghav Chadha wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying there must be a strict India-first rule as citizens' needs must be given priority over exports to other countries.
In a letter, the AAP MLA said the Centre has chosen to export over 64 million doses to 84 countries while Indian citizens are desperately looking for a vaccination centre that is still open.
"I wish to ask Government of India as to what its priority is? the people of Delhi or of Dominican Republic? The people of Maharashtra or of Mauritius? The people of Bengal or Bangladesh? Gujarat or Guyana? Odisha or Oman? Uttar Pradesh or United Kingdom? Kerala or Kenya," Chadha asked.
He urged the government to prioritise vaccinating the entire 135 crore in India before "earning trivial international laurels".
"I urge Government of India to adopt 'vaccine nationalism', and prioritise vaccinating the entire 135 crore in India before earning trivial international laurels. Do not let vaccination centres shut while doses are being flown out of the country."
"It is further alarming to read reports that Government of India will be exporting nearly 45 million doses to Pakistan in the coming days. On one hand, Government of India claims that Pakistan has only exported terrorism to India, on the other hand, we are exporting life-saving vaccines to Pakistan," he said.
Chadha said vaccine nationalism and vaccine universalisation are the need of the hour.
"Vaccines should have a strict India-first rule, with Indian citizens' needs being given priority over exports to other countries. Government of India should not be exporting doses while Indian citizens are dying by the thousands, with a cure within grasp, but out of reach."
"By promoting vaccine nationalism, Government of India must ensure that every Indian citizen is vaccinated and does not have to suffer because of Government of India's diplomatic adventurism," Chadha said.
The letter comes amid complaints of vaccine shortage by several states in the country.
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have formally informed the Centre about their fast depleting stock of COVID-19 vaccines, while Chhattisgarh and Odisha said they too are facing a similar shortage.