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Jharkhand CM writes to PM Modi seeking free vaccines for all ages

The Chief Minister also pointed to the differential pricing of vaccines - something that has drawn scathing criticism from opposition parties, state governments and even the Supreme Court.

Jharkhand CM writes to PM Modi seeking free vaccines for all ages-dnm
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Ranchi, First Published Jun 1, 2021, 11:28 AM IST
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Ranchi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make Covid vaccinations free of cost for all age groups in the state.

In a letter written Monday, Soren cited the excessive financial burden - an estimated Rs 1,100 crore to vaccinate the 18-44 group and a further Rs 1,000 crore for children between 12 and 18. He said the costs would put a burden on financial resources "already stressed during Covid times".

The Chief Minister also pointed to the differential pricing of vaccines - something that has drawn scathing criticism from opposition parties, state governments and even the Supreme Court.

"... it is pertinent to note that the rates specified by the centre for procurement of vaccines by the state for the age cohort of 18 to 44 years are significantly higher than the rates at which vaccine is being procured by the centre for the beneficiaries in the age cohort of 45 years and above."

He said the abysmal supply of vaccines as compared to the state's requirement is the foremost impediment to the ongoing vaccination drive.

He reminded Prime Minister Modi that in vaccination programmes for other diseases - like polio or routine immunisation - the centre would supply states with all doses for free.

"This is probably the first instance in the history of independent India that states have been mandated to procure vaccines on their own. Such a mandate, under the ongoing challenging and unprecedented circumstances... stands against the principle of co-operative federalism," Soren said.

Soren said with the emergence of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, the state experienced an unexpected outbreak of the pandemic and existing medical infrastructure of the state was put under unparalleled strain.

He mentioned that it is now well established that timely and full vaccination of all the eligible beneficiaries is the only sustainable measure against the spread of Covid-19 infection and to control mortality on account of it.

"Better preparedness and response to a possible third wave in the near future will hinge on the extent of vaccination coverage across the country. The State of Jharkhand is taking all possible measures to ensure maximum coverage in the least possible time frame," he said.

Urging the PM to provide to the State free vaccine for beneficiaries of all age groups and also give freedom to define priorities for vaccination coverage, Soren said this would help the state in achieving the target of full vaccination in a timely manner which would go a long way in ensuring effective tackling of the anticipated third wave.

He said the State and the people of Jharkhand shall be ever grateful for support under such difficult times.

NOTE: Asianet News humbly requests everyone to wear masks, sanitize, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated as soon as eligible. Together we can and will break the chain #ANCares #IndiaFightsCorona

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