Thiruvananthapuram, April 20 | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for a change in the Covid vaccine distribution policy.
Vijayan said that the Centre should give the vaccines free of cost to all the states.
“The need of the hour is to ensure that a quota should be there for supply of vaccines in the open market and a benchmark price should be fixed. According to the directive of the Centre, 50 per cent of the vaccine produced is for the Centre and the rest is kept for the states and for open market supply. Health is a state subject and it’s the responsibility of the State and for that the State should be given its quota free of charge, as this is a pandemic,” said Vijayan.
Vijayan pointed out that in the April 19 guideline of the Centre it states that 50 per cent of the vaccines have to be given to the Centre and the balance will be shared by the states and the open market and the states have to buy directly from the manufacturers.
“The state’s finances are now precariously placed because of the after effects of the pandemic and hence the vaccine should be given free of cost,” added Vijayan.
State Health Minister K.K. Shailaja urged the Centre to ensure that adequate supply of vaccines is rushed to the state.
“We want the 50 lakh doses of vaccines that we have asked for. So far we have received 65 lakh doses and we are left with just three lakh doses. Hence we want immediate supplies as only through a mass vaccination drive will we be able to bring down the number of cases. On an average we are now giving two lakh doses of vaccines daily,” said Shailaja.
She said on Tuesday 2,02,313 vaccine jabs was given through 1,100 government hospitals and 330 private hospitals.
“It was on January 16 that the vaccination started in the state. So far 62,36,676 people have been given the jab and it includes 54,38,319 who were given the first dose and 7,98,357 who got both the doses,” said Shailaja.
It was on Tuesday that the state recorded the highest number of positive Covid cases when 19,577 people turned positive after 1,12,221 samples were tested in the past 24 hours.
Consequent to the mass testing launched in the past few days, the total number of active positive cases reached 1,18,673.