Congress asks Centre to clarify who will get free COVID-19 vaccine, when and how

·2 min read
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala (Photo: ANI)
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi [India], January 17 (ANI): Congress leader Randeep Surjewala on Sunday said the BJP-led Central government should clarify who will get free COVID-19 vaccination, when and how.

Surjewala told reporters that while the government is providing vaccines to healthcare workers, it must also clarify when it would distribute vaccines to the rest of the people in the country.

He said, "India's drug controller VG Somani has said that it has purchased 16.5 million (165 lakh) doses. Of these 5.5 million Covaxin is from Bharat Biotech and 11 million Covishield vaccines from Serum Institute of India. If an individual gets two doses of vaccines then it can be given to 82,500 lakh healthcare workers. Prime Minister Modi had earlier said that 3 crore vaccines will be given the first phase. The government must clarify when the rest of the population of 135 crore will be vaccinated and whether they will get vaccinations for free?"

Pointing out that there were a number of questions about vaccines, Surjewala said, "The Serum institute is offering Covishield vaccine to government at Rs 200 per dose. They are producing the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, which has said that they would distribute the vaccine on no profit-loss basis. One of the ministers in Belgium said that the company is providing the vaccine at $2.18 or in other words in Rs 158. So why is the Serum selling its vaccines at Rs 200 per dose?"

"Another vaccine Covaxin is provided by Bharat Biotech at Rs 295 per dose. It has agreed to have manufactured the vaccine with the help of the Indian Council of Medial Research (ICMR). The company has permission to only provide Covaxin to 375 people in the first phase, 380 in the second, and the testing result is awaited for the third phase. So why does it cost more when a vaccine that has already undergone trial costs Rs 200?" he asked. (ANI)