Hyderabad: IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao has said the Centre should immediately take measures to import Covid-19 vaccines from countries that are sitting on a huge stockpile of unused Covid vaccines.
Inaugurating a 150-bed ICU facility for Covid patients at the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), Gachibowli on Friday, Rama Rao asserted that universal Covid vaccination for everybody was the only permanent solution for the Covid-19 pandemic. To vaccinate everybody, the Centre must rollout measures to procure Covid vaccines and establish a distribution line for States .
The Centre should have a uniform pricing and distribution policy for Covid-19 vaccines and must accept that their primary responsibility is to procure vaccines from other countries and then distribute it, so that States can administer them to the public free of cost, he said.
“My information suggests that four countries including the US, Norway, Denmark and Canada alone are sitting on an unused stockpile of nearly 50 crore Covid vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca. What is preventing the Centre from opening a communication channel with these countries and procuring those vaccines for the Indian population?” he asked.
It is clear that the Centre has bungled in procurement and administration of Covid vaccines. At a time when the entire country needed Covid vaccines, the Centre chose to export them. Without assurance of enough stock of Covid vaccines, the Centre chose to open up vaccination for the 18 to 44 year age group, which has further complicated the entire process, he said.
Instead of holding talks with other international vaccine manufacturers for importing Covid vaccines, too much stress is on Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute to meet the vaccine demand in India. Depending on only these two manufacturers is not going to meet the overall demand, Rao added.