BJP asks Delhi government to clarify how many vaccines it procured
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday asked the Delhi government to come clean on the arrangements it has made to procure vaccines and set up oxygen plants while accusing it of politicising the Centre’s vaccine procurement to deflect attention from what it should have done to provide them.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said only 13% of people, who have been vaccinated in the national capital, have got their vaccines from the Delhi government. “Nearly 46 lakh [4.6 million] free vaccines were supplied by the Centre to Delhi. Private hospitals... procured about 9 lakh [90,00,00] doses of vaccines while the Delhi government managed to procure just a little over 8 lakh [80,00,00].”
Patra said private hospitals have managed to get more vaccines on their own than the Delhi government. He said the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government should also clarify how many doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine has it ordered and paid for so far.
The BJP-led Centre and the AAP government have been at loggerheads over the vaccine policy as well as over the allotment of oxygen to Delhi. The state government has alleged the Centre did not supply oxygen to it as per the quantum of requirement. The Centre has sought an audit of the oxygen being supplied.
Patra said it has been a month since chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced 44 oxygen plants will be set up within a month. “It has been a month already… I want to ask how many plants have been started.”
Patra said the number of companies manufacturing the drug needed to treat mucormycosis, which has emerged as a major Covid-19 complication, has gone up from four to nine following the Centre’s intervention.
Kejriwal on Wednesday said there was an acute shortage of the drug.
Patra said American firm Gilead Sciences is sending about 100,000 vials of the medicine to India and 85,000 of them are on their way. “…Delhi has so far received 4,550 vials of the medicines required to treat mucormycosis or black fungus,” Patra said. “As per our information, the vials are not reaching the hospitals properly because there is a problem at the Delhi government end in terms of management.”
Patra referred to the Delhi government’s statement that companies such as Pfizer and Moderna have refused to sell vaccines to state governments and added Centre has amended the rules to allow vaccines certified by international agencies or listed for emergency use by the WHO to be allowed for use in India. “There are constraints in the supply of vaccines.”
He said the Centre is talking to these companies and working to procure vaccines. “Political leaders such as Arvind Kejriwal, who are asking questions, should remember this is not something that can be bought off the shelf. There is a process to be followed.”
Patra accused the opposition parties of propagating the myth that domestic manufacturing has not been encouraged. “This is again not true. Bharat Biotech has been ensured that the company can share the [vaccine] license with three other companies to increase enhance the production of Covaxin.”
He called the Delhi government’s claim about the reluctance in vaccinating children untrue. “Children are not guinea pigs for our experiments.” He said there was a need for proper trials before children are vaccinated. “There should be no politicisation on the issue of vaccinating children.”
There was no immediate response from the AAP or the Delhi government.