BENGALURU: Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that every Indian is vaccinated against Covid-19 for free. “Many countries across the world, including Brazil, Canada, the US and the UK, have made vaccines free of cost and that is the right approach,” Siddaramaiah stated in a letter addressed to the PM.
Urging Modi to reconsider the decision to allow private hospitals to charge Rs 250 for the vaccine, the former chief minister said allowing private healthcare centres to charge Rs 250 for administering vaccine will adversely impact the efforts to ensure immunity to everyone and to contain the spread of Covid-19. “More than 70% of the population will find it difficult to afford the vaccine and (the price) may prevent them from accessing it. This will act as a deterrent for our fight against the pandemic and return to normalcy,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said vaccination drive in India was slow as only 0.5% of the population was vaccinated so far. “Whereas other countries have been making huge strides to increase immunity among its people. Israel has vaccinated 36 per cent of the population, the US six per cent, and the UK four per cent. India can progress only when the vaccines are widely available at zero cost to the population,” the former CM stated.
Siddaramaiah said collaborating with private institutions in the vaccination drive is the right approach and the State and Union governments should take the burden to reimburse.