New Delhi, May 27 (KMS): States cannot afford to compete among themselves to buy coronavirus vaccines – any more than being forced to buy individual stores of weapons and ammunition in case of an attack by Pakistan – Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal told media.
Kejriwal called on the Indian government to play its part in the vaccination drive and urgently procure enough doses to inoculate people in the national capital and across the country, rather than leaving it to states to try and negotiate separate deals with manufacturers.
“The government is saying that states should buy vaccines on their own. The states have spoken to everyone. Not a single state has been successful in getting an extra dose (of vaccine). This was the job of the centre,” the Chief Minister said.
“States are doing everything they can. We tried global tenders, we spoke to companies and they are refusing to speak to us… It’s like imagine, if Pakistan attempts war on India, will the centre leave states to defend themselves? Will they ask, did Delhi make nuclear bombs, did Uttar Pradesh buy tanks?” Mr Kejriwal said.
The Chief Minister doubled down on his comments at a media briefing later in the evening. “Unlike many other countries, India delayed vaccination by six months. The first vaccine was made by Indians in India. We should have been manufacturing and stocking up since then… if we’d done that, we may have prevented some of the deaths in the second wave,” he said at the virtual media briefing.
India has been hit hard by the second wave of infections, with more than 3,000 deaths per day since April 28 and over 2,000 a day since April 21. The second wave has coincided with a worrying dip in vaccinations, as the centre and states go back and forth over the demand and supply of doses.
Under the India’s new “liberalised” vaccination policy states are now required to independently source 50 per cent of their vaccines. However, documents accessed by NDTV seem to indicate the centre has fixed specific quotas for how many doses the Delhi government can purchase from manufacturers.