New Delhi: India started the second phase of its covid-19 vaccination progamme on Monday with many prominent political leaders taking the vaccine jabs. In a bid to intensify the nationwide immunisation process, the Centre released a revised set of guidelines under which private hospitals have also been authorised to inoculate citizens at a price of Rs 250 per dose. Notably, vaccine doses are still free of cost at government centres.
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan has now slammed Centre’s move to charge people Rs 250 for the Covid-19 vaccine dosage. Taking umbrage at this, Chavan said that in the Phase-1, the Centre had procured 1.65 crore doses of the vaccine at a cost of Rs 210/dose.
“As per the Feb. 1 Budget speech of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Rs 35,000 crore has been allocated for the vaccination drive. In this amount, at the cost of Rs 210/dose, more than 1.50 billion doses can be procured,” Chavan said.
These 1.60 billion doses can help inoculate 75 crore of the Indians, covering almost the entire adult population of the country, and hence if budgetary provisions are made, then why the charges (Rs 250) are being levied, Chavan asked.
The minister pointed out that in countries like the US, the UK or Canada, citizens are getting free vaccines either by budgetary provisions or through insurance companies.
“I demand that all beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (Aayushman Bharat) must be given free Covid-19 vaccines,” Chavan said.
Further, taking a jibe at the government, the former Union Minister and former Maharashtra Chief Minister said that “despite lofty budgetary announcements and India being the largest supplier of the Covid-19 vaccine, the Modi Government is digging into the common man’s pocket” with the vaccine charges.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra has witnessed a worrying upward trend in daily covid-19 cases. While some has feared it as the second wave of coronavirus, experts have cited new strains and mutants as the reason of surge.