New Delhi [India], April 11 (ANI): Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala, Binoy Viswam has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to reconsider the decision to provide booster doses to those aged above 18 years at a cost of around 375 rupees.
He said that the nationwide COVID vaccination drive can only be justified by the free availability of vaccines in public healthcare institutions that can be accessed by millions of people who may not be able to afford private vaccination.
Viswam in his letter to the Prime Minister said, "I urge the government to re-consider the same in the interest of the ordinary citizens of the country and their well-being. While a provision for private access to the vaccine booster dose may be kept, it can only be justified by the free availability of vaccines in public healthcare institutions that can be accessed by millions of people who may not be able to afford private vaccination."
Private vaccination centres on Sunday began the administration of the precautionary "third" dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, also known as the booster dose, for the 18-plus population.
The age cap for the booster shot came at a time when another highly transmissible XE variant of the coronavirus is being reported. However, the official confirmation of the existence of this particular variant is yet to come.
The CPI MP further in his letter stated that the government has decided to provide booster doses for all those above the age of 18 and between 60 at around 375 rupees from the pockets of the people will lead to the failure of the drive. "The privatization of the vaccination drive is ill-planned, disastrous and could invariably lead to the failure of the intended programme," he added.
"The most vulnerable people to the Covid-19 virus are those who work outside with maximum contact of people, this includes daily-wage workers, street vendors, industrial workers, students, and those commuting through public transportation to work. The policy to pay for the booster dose, dis-incentivizes these groups as the cost of vaccination could be a significant cost to the day-to-day expenses of this class" he said in the letter to PM Modi.
The CPI Rajya Sabha MP said, "The Government policy for booster doses caters only to the affluent classes who can afford the vaccine while discriminating against those who may not be able to afford the same."
"This discriminatory implementation of the vaccination drive is another example of the Government's concern for the common citizens of the country who are already reeling under the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the sharp price rise that is occurring at present. The government rather than standing by the interest of the ordinary citizens, is giving an opportunity to two companies to gain extraordinary profits and loot the country," he added.
The CPI MP urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision in the interest of the ordinary citizens of the country and their well-being. (ANI)