Rising COVID infections and the shortage of vaccines has lead to an uproar from the states and has also put the vaccine diplomacy gesture under fire. Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday criticized the vaccine diplomacy policy under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship where millions of Covishield and Covaxin doses of vaccines against Covid-19, manufactured in India were gifted to other countries. He indicated at the shortages of vaccines in the country after a hike in the coronavirus cases. Mr Singh implied that the centre could have prioritized the vaccinations of Indians over the 'goodwill gesture'.
"...What was the point of gifting 5 crore doses to other countries? What about us? What about Indians? Don't we get it first? I am not saying don't give it (vaccines) if you have it, but if you don't have it, the priority should be (vaccinations of) Indians, not giving the vaccines to others as a goodwill gesture... First, give the vaccine to me. I said this when the Prime Minister had the conference the other day...," said Mr Singh as reported by NDTV.
Vaccine Diplomacy At Loggerheads With States
India's initiative was excessively praised by the global community, including the World Health Organization on accounts of humanitarianism. But this gesture has taken a turnabout amidst the increasing number of cases in many states since last month. Maharashtra, the worst affected state reportedly suffered a severe shortage of vaccines. "Now they say ramp it (vaccinations) up to two lakhs a day... if I ramp it up, I have one-and-a-half days of supply," Mr Singh rebuked.
Leave It To The States
Amarinder Singh also suggested that the state governments should be permitted to select the target groups for the immunization drive. "Leave it to the states to decide. I may have a different problem to Delhi and Delhi may have a different problem to Maharashtra, and Maharashtra may have a different problem to Kerala. Let us decide where we require the vaccine," he said. The regulation of vaccination of people aged 45 or above is being allowed by the centre and many states such as Delhi and Maharashtra have demanded the centre to extend the vaccination drive to other age groups as well. As the country is faring through the second wave of pandemic there have been recorded 2.34 lakh cases and over 1,300 deaths in a day. The shortage of vaccination is an inevitable matter of concern in the country as cases escalate, the future lies in the government's decisions.