“It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges,” Gandhi said in her letter to Modi.
The government on Monday said all adults could get vaccinated from May 1 and allowed state governments and hospital chains to buy vaccines directly from manufacturers. However, vaccination will continue as before in Central government centres free of cost for healthcare workers, frontline workers and all those above 45 years of age.
The Congress party has been protesting against the decision of Serum Institute of India to set the price of its Covishield vaccine at Rs 400 for state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals as against the Centre’s procurement price of Rs 150.
Gandhi objected to the exclusion of the 18-45 age group from the Central vaccination scheme. This policy, she said, “implies that the government of India has abdicated its responsibility to provide free vaccination for citizens between the age group of 18 and 45 years. This is complete abandonment of the government’s responsibility towards our youth.”
Stressing on the benefit of a uniform price for vaccination, Gandhi hoped the PM would take steps to “reverse this ill-considered decision.” Ever since the government announced the new vaccination policy, the Congress has been demanding a “one-nation-one-vaccine price” policy.