Sonia demands uniform price for Covid vaccines
- Sonia Gandhi questioned how the same vaccine manufactured by SII could have three different prices.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday questioning how the government could allow “brazen profiteering from people’s misery” as she demanded a re-evaluation of the Centre’s modified vaccination policy and a uniform price for vaccines.
She referred to the Serum Institute of India (SII)’s Covishield rate list— ₹150 per vaccine dose for the Centre, but ₹400 for state governments and ₹600 for private hospitals. “This means that citizens will be compelled to pay these high rates to be vaccinated. This will also bleed the finances of state governments,” Gandhi said in her letter.
The SII on Wednesday became the first company to disclose the pricing under the new, open-market mechanism for coronavirus vaccinations from next month.
Gandhi questioned how the same vaccine manufactured by SII could have three different prices. She added there was no rationale or justification to this “arbitrary distinction”.
“At a time when medical resources are scarce, hospital beds are unavailable, oxygen supply and availability of essential medicine is dwindling rapidly, why is your Government allowing a policy that reeks of such insensitivity,” she said.
Gandhi accused the government of abdicating its responsibility of providing free vaccination to people in the age group of 18 to 45. “This is [a] complete abandonment of the Government’s responsibility towards our youth.” She reiterated the allocation to state governments should be “transparent and equitable, in line with the spirit of cooperative federalism”.
The Centre on Monday announced all adults will be eligible for vaccination and doses can be sold in the market from May 1 as it heeded calls for wider access as India grapples with a surge of Covid-19 infections.