Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking to vaccinate the entire population of the country free of cost.
“The entire nation faced challenges due to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. GDP of our country is expected to contract by 7.7% for the year 2020-21 and millions of people have lost their livelihood due to the pandemic. It is the absolute duty of the central and state governments to come to the aid of people during these difficult times. Development of vaccines has raised hopes among everyone, and it is essential to make the vaccines accessible and available to everyone,” he wrote in the letter.
“India can progress only when the vaccines are widely available at zero cost to the population. The decision of the central government to allow private healthcare centers to charge Rs 250 for administering the vaccine will adversely impact the efforts to ensure immunity to everyone and to contain the spread. More than 70% of the population will find it difficult to afford the vaccine and may prevent them from accessing it,” he added.
Siddaramaiah said that charging for the vaccine will act as a deterrent in the fight against the pandemic citing examples of countries that are vaccinating its citizens free of cost. He also said that while collaborating with private health centers is the right approach, central and state governments should reimburse.
Karnataka has administered 9,07,887 doses of the vaccine in all three phases so far including first and the second dose.
“One of the narratives built during the collection of funds through PM Cares was that the funds shall be used to vaccinate everyone at free of cost. The office of Prime Minister has failed to release the accounts of PM Cares Fund and failed to provide vaccination at zero cost as well. I strongly urge the Prime Minister of India to reconsider the decision and ensure that every Indian is vaccinated for Covid19 at zero cost,” Siddaramaiah has said in the letter.