Kerala CM writes to non-BJP counterparts urging united effort for free COVID-19 vaccines

Pinarayi said he had already written to the Prime Minister pointing out the merits of the Union government assessing the requirements of states and floating a global tender

Published: 31st May 2021 05:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st June 2021 02:25 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Initiating a united move to ensure free Covid-19 vaccines across the country, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday wrote to his counterparts in eleven states ruled by non- BJP parties to press the Union government. “The statements to the effect that the responsibility to provide vaccine entirely falls within the realm of the states defy the very basis of the cooperative federal system.

The need of the hour is a united effort from our side too to put forth the genuine demand that the Centre should procure the vaccines needed by the states and distribute them free of cost,” Pinarayi said, adding it would be more effective. Pinarayi said he had already written to the PM pointing out the merits of Centre assessing requirements of the states and floating a global tender. 

Experts have warned about 3rd wave, says CM

The CM pointed out that the Union government has taken a stance that the states should resort to own measures to procure the Covid-19 vaccines. Compared to the demand for the vaccines, the supply is low. 
Pinarayi said he had already written to the prime minister pointing out the merits of the Union government assessing requirements of the states and floating a global tender. Vaccines should be provided free of cost, as it’s for the public good and access to which should not be denied to anyone.

When the nation is passing through the second wave, it’s quite unfortunate that there appears to be an attempt by the Centre to absolve itself of its bounden duty to provide adequate supply of vaccines to states, Pinarayi said in his letter, adding that experts have warned about a third wave of Covid-19. 

“If the burden of procuring the vaccines is left to fall entirely or even substantially on the states, their fiscal situation will be in dire straits. Fiscal strength of the states is an essential part of a healthy federal setup. If the states’ finances are hamstrung, federalism itself will be weakened and this will not augur well for a democratic polity like ours. It will also impede efforts for early building of herd immunity,” said Pinarayi.

The Kerala CM pointed out that till now, only 3.1% of the people have been administered two doses of vaccine. Vaccine manufacturing companies are engaged in making financial gains by exploiting the situation. Foreign pharmaceutical companies too are unwilling to enter into any sort of agreement with the states. 

Pinarayi said the country has public sector pharmaceutical companies capable of taking up vaccine production. The Government of India should take necessary steps to ensure that the intellectual property rights and patent laws do not stand in the way of manufacturing the vaccines. The Centre should explore options including compulsory licensing, he added. Kerala has been demanding free and universal vaccination for everyone. Pinarayi had written to the prime minister raising the demand.


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