BENGALURU: Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Friday raised four pertinent questions regarding the Covid-19 vaccination plan during the all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At a time when states, including Karnataka, are facing severe fund crunch, Gowda asked if the Centre will bear the cost of vaccination or if state governments will have to pitch in.
In an 8-point written submission, the JDS national president also offered suggestions to the Centre on mitigation of Covid. Stressing that care must taken to ensure that case numbers do not spiral out of control, he said hopes of a vaccine cannot be the basis to throw caution to the wind.
Covid vaccine: JDS chief lauds PM
Following the controversy of alleged adverse effects around Serum Institute of India’s Phase 3 trials, Gowda asked PM Modi if more time should be allowed for Phase 3 trials to assess its efficacy and safety. He sought to know how many people will be vaccinated in the first round after Union Health Ministry officials said not everyone in the country needs to immunised. The statement from the Heath Ministry came after the PM had earlier declared that all Indians will get vaccinated.
“I am very pleased that the Prime Minister recently reviewed the advances made with regard to Covid-19 vaccines in various laboratories in the country. This stocktaking was essential to give hope and confidence to citizens that the abnormal situation that they have been trapped in for months is likely to end soon,” Gowda said. The JDS patriarch also pushed for a high-level team, which directly reports to the PMO, to coordinate the vaccination efforts.
“It should engage in creating a network of medical and paramedical volunteers at the panchayat level,” he said in his submission. Even as he warned that the period in the run-up to the administration of vaccinations should be treated with caution, Gowda emphasised on allowing IITs to come up with plans for long-term storage of vaccines with inexpensive assembly units.
“The cost of vaccines should be affordable. For the economically vulnerable, the government should even consider giving it free,” he said.