"My Message From Covid Sickbed": Shashi Tharoor's Video On Vaccine Policy

Shashi Tharoor targeted the centre over its ambitious plan to vaccinate the entire country by the end of this year.

'My Message From Covid Sickbed': Shashi Tharoor's Video On Vaccine Policy

Shashi Tharoor posted a video this morning from his "Covid sickbed".

Highlights

  • Make vaccines free for all, tweets Shashi Tharoor from hospital bed
  • Mr Tharoor slammed the centre for differential vaccine pricing
  • Centre says it plans to vaccinate all "eligible people" by December
New Delhi:

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is recuperating after testing positive for coronavirus in April, this morning tweeted a message for the government on the vaccine policy. "Save India from Covid. Make vaccines free for all," he said in a nearly two-minute long video.

The Congress MP from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram targeted the centre over its ambitious plan to vaccinate the entire country by the end of this year.

"As you can see, I am in bed, suffering the complications of a long Covid infection. I just want to say to everybody... having seen the government statement that everybody will be vaccinated by (the) end of December, while seeing the availability of vaccines or lack there of of the vaccines, I wonder how the government is going to get there."

Last week, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had made it clear that India's vaccination drive is on track while re-asserting that the government plans to vaccinate all the people by December.

"I support the Indian National Congress's campaign for a massive change in the government's policy to permit universal vaccination of all Indians within the promised deadline of December, and to do so free of cost," Mr Tharoor underlined today.

Slamming the government for the differential vaccine pricing, which has emerged as a contentious issue, the 65-year-old leader further said: "It is unacceptable that this government should be demanding that states, private hospitals and others compete in some sort of market free for all to buy vaccines at different prices, extortionate prices in some cases, when the central government has an arrangement to buy vaccines at affordable prices and give them to the public for free. That was the policy at the beginning of the vaccination drive. "

Under the centre's new "liberalised" policy, which came into effect May 1, states can buy up to 50 per cent of their vaccine needs from manufacturers, although at higher prices than that fixed for the centre.

"Let us have a universal, free vaccination policy to save the nation from Covid. I have suffered a lot. I don't want my fellow citizens to suffer even a fraction of what I have done, and certainly not to do worse than me as so many have as the tragedy unfolded in the country," he said while referring to the devastating second Covid wave, which is affecting lakhs every day.

On Tuesday, ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava underlined that one crore Covid vaccines will be available every day by mid-July, or early-August.

India has logged over 2.8 crore Covid cases so far; 3.35 lakh people have died.

The Congress has been attacking the government over the handling of the pandemic, specially the second wave, and slow pace of vaccination.