Manmohan Singh Writes To Prime Minister, Asks To Ramp Up The Vaccination Drive

Amidst the rising cases of coronavirus all over the country and situations getting out of control, former Prime Minister and Congress leader wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking to ramp up the vaccination drive to control the situation in the country.

Amidst the rising cases of coronavirus all over the country and situations getting out of control, former Prime Minister and Congress leader wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking to ramp up the vaccination drive to control the situation in the country.

In his letter, the former Prime Minister stressed that the expansion of the Covid vaccination program forms a big part of pandemic management and we must resist the temptation to look at absolute numbers vaccinated and instead focus on the percentage of population vaccinated.

“It is now over a year since the world, and India, have been grappling with the Covid 19 pandemic. Many parents have not seen their children, living in different cities, in over a year. Grandparents have not seen their grandchildren. Teachers have not seen children in the classroom. Many have lost their source of livelihood, and several million have been pushed back into poverty. With the second surge that we are currently witnessing, people are beginning to wonder when their lives will get back to normal” he wrote in his letter.

Further, he added some suggestions to his letter to tackle the pandemic

1-The government should publicize what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months. If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply.

2-The government should indicate how this expected to supply will be distributed across states based on a transparent formula. The central government could retain 10 percent for distribution based on emergency needs, but other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their rollout.

3-States should be given some flexibility to define categories of frontline workers who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age.

For example, states may want to designate school teachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend Courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45.

4- The Government of India must proactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities quickly by providing funds and other concessions. In addition, I believe this is the time to invoke the compulsory licensing provisions in the law so that a number of companies are able to produce the vaccines under a license.

5- Since domestic supplies are limited, any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as the European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials.

The relaxation could be for a limited period during which the bridging trials could be completed in India. All consumers of such vaccines could be duly cautioned that these vaccines are being allowed for use based on the approval granted by the relevant authority abroad.

“The key to our fight against Covid 19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated, and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated. Currently, India has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population. I am certain that with the right policy design, we can do much better and very quickly” he added.

India’s death toll increased to 1,77,150 with a record 1,501 new fatalities, data from today’s morning showed.

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