NEW DELHI: Left parties demanded on Tuesday that the government withdraw the 25 per cent reservation of vaccines for the private sector, alleging that it was a “licence” to loot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Monday that the Centre will provide free coronavirus vaccines to the states for the inoculation of all above the age of 18 years from June 21.
He also said private hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of the vaccines, but their service charge would be capped at Rs 150 per dose over the fixed price of the vaccine.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), in a statement, said people will reject the “condemnable” effort by the prime minister to level false charges against the state governments and shift the responsibility to them.
“However, the failed vaccine policy has not been fully reversed. The government has chosen to continue the dual pricing policy. As much as 25 per cent of vaccine production is still reserved for the private sector. This is nothing but a licence for loot by private manufacturers to make super profits.
“Further, at a time of an acute vaccine shortage, the continuation of such a policy will dilute and weaken the need for universal vaccination, essential to prevent a third wave of the coronavirus. Only the rich can afford the exorbitant pricing of vaccines for the private hospitals permitted by the government,” the CPI(M) said, demanding the withdrawal of the 25 per cent reservation for the private sector.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) said it is the Centre’s responsibility to make vaccines available to all citizens of the country for free and it is “not an act of charity”.
“The party wants the government to ensure free supply of vaccines with full transparency. The party also wants the government to take into confidence the state governments as well as the public so that the entire population is vaccinated properly.
“The party feels that there is no logic in allowing private hospitals to provide 25 per cent of vaccines and vaccination with a charge of Rs 150. The party emphasises that the entire vaccination must be free and be the responsibility of the central government,” it said in a statement.