VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has sought to impress upon his counterparts in all states to rally for procurement of vaccines. In a letter to them, he stressed the need for them to speak in one voice to put pressure on the Central government to take sole responsibility for the vaccination drive including procurement of vaccines.
His letter detailed how states could not allot resources to take up such tasks as calling for global tenders, which sadly saw no bids from anybody. Hence, it should be the Centre alone which should take charge of the vaccination drive, dealing with all aspects thereof.
The letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was released on Thursday. Jagan Mohan Reddy stated thus: “India is showing initial signs of retreating from a deadly second wave of Coronavirus infections but, we cannot let our guard down and I am sure you are preparing for the journey ahead by ensuring even stronger healthcare systems in your respective states. Our sharpest weapon against Coronavirus is the vaccine. India's vaccination drive has to be even faster, a fact pointed by several experts.”
Explaining the reason for writing the letter, CM Jagan said, “As to why I am inking this letter also stems from this reality. We had gone for a global tender in order to procure the vaccines directly in line with our commitment to vaccinate everybody free of cost. The date of submission of bids was 3rd June until 5 pm, but to my dismay no one quoted and the reasons being the situation now being transformed into States Vs. Union and also the approving Authority being Govt. of India and so on and so forth, the situation is no longer in our control as far as the procurement of vaccines are concerned. Apart from this, the vaccination drive is plagued by multiple coordination issues. Some states feel they are not getting enough and global tenders floated by states are not getting the desired responses. Any delay in vaccinating the people would come at a heavy price.”
CM Jagan stated, “It is my request that as Chief Ministers, we speak in a single voice and urge the Government of India to take charge and responsibility of the vaccination drive, the way it was happening in the early part of the year. The timely vaccination of medical staff yielded great results. The vaccination was completed on time and this decision ensured that our front-line workers and medical professionals could be fighting the virus when at the peak of the second wave. While there remain so many supply constraints in vaccine production, the decision of giving the states a larger say in the vaccination procurement was something that was unwarranted, the fact remains that the last month and a half has made us realize the challenges of this drive. It has also led to significant deviation of resources from augmenting healthcare capacities in our respective states.”
The Chief Minister asserted, “The need of the hour is to increase our vaccine availability, be it through any source. A centralized and coordinated vaccination, supported by the states would lead to wonderful results for the people of India. Therefore, I would again urge you to lend your support and we as Chief Ministers speak in one voice and ensure that India overcomes this pandemic.”