DMK president MK Stalin has urged the Centre to hold talks with vaccine manufacturers and ensure that they sell vaccines at Rs 150 per dose, as they do to the Centre. Stalin also asked the Centre to provide necessary funds to the states for procuring the vaccines.
Describing as ‘shocking’ the pricing mechanism of Serum Institute of India, which has proposed to sell vaccines at Rs 150 and Rs 400 per dose to Centre and states, respectively, Stalin said the price hike announced by Covishield manufacturer was inhuman and greatly affect the COVID containment measures in the country. Referring to the reported payment of Rs 4,500 crore by the Centre to the vaccine manufacturers to procure 50 per cent of vaccines, Stalin sought to know where the states would source the money from.
“How can the Centre’s “vaccine for all” programme be implemented? How is it fair on the part of the vaccine manufacturer to price the vaccine at Rs 150 per dose to Centre and Rs 400 per dose to the states? Tamil Nadu has yet to receive the GST dues from the Centre. The state has not fully received the funds sought for COVID prevention measures? How will TN or other states bear the burden of vaccine price hike?” the DMK chief wondered, urging the Centre to immediately hold talks with the manufacturers for selling vaccine at the same price (Rs 150 per dose) to Centre and states.
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to give free vaccine for all what is the need for vaccines being sold in open market,” MDMK leader Vaiko, questioned.
Speaking about the new policy, VCK MP Ravikumar alleged that the new vaccine policy is to benefit only the corporate companies. “Right from the beginning the Centre’s approach is to favour corporate companies and to benefit them. Atmanirbhar Bharat policy is only to boost private companies, not public sector vaccine companies,” said Ravikumar. “When the country is facing huge shortage of vaccines the Centre made a mistake by exporting vaccines. Even US and UK who are large vaccine producers do not export vaccines, but why India is exporting when the country is facing huge deficit,” he asked.