Rahul Gandhi bats for Covid vaccine for all; slams Centre’s ‘need vs want’ logic
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said Covid-19 vaccination should be open to people of all age groups, a day after the government ruled this out.
The former Congress president and Wayanad MP tweeted, “ It’s ridiculous to debate needs and wants. Every Indian deserves the chance to a safe life.” He had earlier urged people to wear masks and follow all safety precautions.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said on Tuesday, “The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it, but to those who need it”.
Gandhi is the latest to join the vaccination-for-all cause and demand that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government should open Covid-19 vaccination to all age groups. On Tuesday, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow all citizens above the age of 18 to get vaccinated. Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also made similar requests.
“It is high time that the government of India accepts what every public health expert within the country and globally has been saying— the second wave of Covid-19 is here. If having cases in excess of what we saw during the peak of the first wave in September 2020 is not a testimony to this, we wonder what else it would take for the government to accept this fact and re-strategise accordingly. The height (spike) of the Covid-19 cases is alarming, and the width (duration of the spike) of the Covid-19 cases needs to be curtailed now before this wave turns into a tsunami,’’ said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera.
The demand for opening vaccinations to everyone is becoming stronger as Covid-19 cases rise exponentially across India . India started the vaccination drive on January 16. The drive is currently in its third phase—everyone who is older than 45 is eligible to get vaccinated. Three months after it started the vaccination drive, India hit a grim milestone on Wednesday when it recorded 115,736 active Covid-19 cases, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
India’s overall count has crossed the 12.8 million mark. Cases are rapidly increasing in Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka among others states. India’s daily Covid-19 tally is now the highest in the world, surpassing Brazil and the US, as it recorded over 100,000 cases in the last 24 hours.