Manmohan Singh writes to PM Modi on Covid-19: Full text of letter
- Noting that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, Manmohan Singh said he is certain that with the right policy design, "we can do much better and very quickly".
Congress leader and former prime minister Manmohan Singh wrote a letter to PM Modi on Sunday, suggesting ways to ramp up Covid-19 vaccination efforts in the country. The veteran Congressman urged a preference of the total percentage of the population that has been vaccinated instead of looking at “absolute numbers”.
Noting that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, Singh said he is certain that with the right policy design, "we can do much better and very quickly".
Here is the full text of Manmohan Singh's letter:
- Firstly, Singh asked PM Modi to make public orders for the coronavirus vaccine placed by the government for delivery in the next 6 months. Adding that to vaccinate a targeted number of people sufficient number of orders need to be placed in advance so vaccine producers can comply with “an agreed schedule of supply”.
- Singh asked the government to be transparent about how the supply of vaccines expected in the coming 6 months will be distributed to states. Having a clear understanding of the likely availability will aid states in a smooth roll-out of inoculations. Singh also urged the Centre to hold on to only 10 per cent of the vaccine stock and distribute the rest.
- Singh asked the Prime Minister to allow states the flexibility to define who qualifies as a ‘frontline worker’, stating that many states have expressed their desire to designate bus and taxi drivers, school teachers, municipal and panchayat staff, and even lawyers as frontline workers so they would be eligible for vaccination even if they are below the requisite 45 years of age.
- Singh while praising policy decisions and intellectual property protection laws adopted by previous governments, citing it as the reason for India’s success with vaccine production, urged the current government to support vaccine manufacturers, most of whom belong to the private sector, to expand their manufacturing capacities by providing funds and other necessary concessions.
- Since domestic vaccine supply is limited, Singh suggested that any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials. Those who would opt for such vaccines should be disclosed of this fact.