THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The new Covid vaccine policy of the Centre will push the state governments into huge financial liabilities, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference here, he said as per the new policy, the manufactures of the Covid vaccine will give 50% of their production to the Central government and the remaining 50% to state governments and open markets.
Pinarayi said Kerala has already announced that it would make available the vaccine to its public free of cost and the state cannot go back on its word.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has already announced that its Covid vaccine Covishield will be sold to state governments at Rs 400 per shot and Rs 600 to private hospitals. This will create huge financial liability for the state governments which have already been facing acute financial crisis due to the
ongoing pandemic. So instead of pushing the state governments into further financial liabilities, the Centre should provide free vaccine to the states which deserve it, he said.
Kerala has already announced that it would make available the vaccine to its people free of cost and the state cannot go back on its word. The state requires2.5 lakh vaccines per day to vaccinate 1.13 crore people above the age of 45 years before May 20, the CM said.
Due to the shortage of vaccine, the state could not maintain its daily target and now the state requires 3.7 lakh vaccines per day to meet the May 20 target, he further said. Despite seeking 50 lakh vaccine doses, Kerala got only 5.5 lakh doses. When the entire country is fighting a pandemic, it’s the
the constitutional responsibility of the Centre to protect the health of the people by providing life saving medicines free of cost, he reminded.
Meanwhile, the state government announced a slew of restrictions to check the spread of Covid cases. The state has also decided to convene a meeting of private hospitals to make them a part of Covid control machinery. Also, a meeting of political parties will be convened soon over the steps to be taken ahead of the vote counting and the counting day, said the CM.
All government offices (except those dealing with emergency and essential services) will allow up to 50% staff on rotation basis to work from home. Such staff of Government offices without e-office facility shall be deployed on Covid duty as per the duty roster prepared by the district collectors.
- All private offices/ organizations/ institutions/ companies shall function with minimal strength as far as possible on work from home basis.
- All educational institutions including music/art schools, coaching institutions are directed to conduct classes only in the online mode.
- All summer vacation camps shall be closed. Hostels are permitted to function strictly by adhering to Covid protocols
- Only essential services and emergency activities shall be allowed on Saturday and Sunday.
- Saturday will be a holiday for all government offices, banks, Public Sector Undertakings and Cooperative institutions
- Higher Secondary Examination scheduled on Saturday will be conducted as planned.
- No restrictions shall be binding on any staff deputed on election, examination or Covid duty
- The timing of functioning of takeaways from restaurants can be extended by District Disaster Management Authorities to facilitate the breaking of fast during Ramzan
- Covid protocols shall be strictly followed in all public places such as beaches, parks, railway stations, bus stations, airports, market places etc