All citizens should get free Covid-19 vaccine: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said as soon as a Covid-19 vaccine is available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccinationUpdated: Oct 24, 2020, 19:48 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said citizens across the country should get free Covid-19 vaccines, two days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s promise for free vaccination against the disease in its Bihar election manifesto kicked up a storm.
“The whole country should get free Covid-19 vaccines. It is the right of the entire country. All the people are troubled by the coronavirus. So, the vaccine should be free for the country,” Kejriwal told reporters after inaugurating two flyovers in Northeast Delhi. He was responding to a question on the BJP’s poll promise of free Covid-19 vaccines in Bihar.
Opposition parties and public health experts have questioned the promise, saying politics should not be linked with immunisation even as Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh governments made similar announcements about free vaccination on Tuesday.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who released BJP’s 11-point document of pledges in Patna ahead of the polls in Bihar, on Thursday said as soon as a Covid-19 vaccine is available for production at a mass scale, every person in the state will get free vaccination. “This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto,” said Sitharaman.
The BJP later clarified that the vaccine would be delivered to all citizens. It said it was up to state governments to give it for free after receiving it at a nominal cost from the Centre. Experts questioned its inclusion in a poll manifesto and argued this was different from a policy announcement of the central or a state government.
Bihar goes to the polls in three phases on October 28, November 3, and November 7. The results will be declared on November 10.
Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami also on Thursday assured free vaccines for all people in his state. Hours later, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan followed suit.
Kejriwal separately also hinted that schools in Delhi are likely to remain shut even beyond October 31. The government had last extended the closure of schools till October 31 on October 4.