“Took him four months but, after much pressure, he has FINALLY listened to us and implemented what we have been asking all this while,” the Bengal CM tweeted after PM Modi’s vaccine announcement on Monday evening. She had been writing to the PM since February, putting on record “our long-standing demand to provide vaccines to ALL for FREE”, she added.
Back in Feb ’21 & multiple times thereafter, I’d written to the PM stating our long standing demand to provide vacc… https://t.co/jNzu12M6aP
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) 1623077599000
“The well-being of the people of India should have been prioritised since the very start of this pandemic. Unfortunately, this delayed decision by the PM has already cost many lives. Hoping for a better managed #VaccinationDrive this time that focuses on people and not propaganda!” she added.
The well-being of the people of India should’ve been prioritized since the very start of this pandemic. Unfortunate… https://t.co/MJ0nS9Q7yB
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) 1623077600000
The Trinamool reminded the Centre that Banerjee, along with a host of other CMs and opposition leaders, had been advocating a free universal vaccination regime since the Covid-jab programme started in India. “Only time will tell” whether PM Narendra Modi’s vaccine announcements were “for real or yet another smokescreen”, senior Trinamool leaders said, adding that the party had been protesting “the dual vaccine pricing policy” for Centre and states as being illegal and arbitrary and had even moved the Supreme Court against it.
“It is the legal and moral responsibility” of the Centre “to reimburse” states “for costs incurred towards vaccinating citizens”, the state’s plea said, demanding that the Centre “intervene by capping the price of vaccines at an affordable and uniform rate”.
Covid is a multi-peak epidemic with varying impacts on different places and population groups. The vaccine requirement for states will vary and it remains to be seen whether the Centre will provide vaccines according to the requirement. Our experience makes us extremely sceptical; we never get our due even after paying in advance,” Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said.
“We have seen what happened after Modi’s April 19 announcement of a new vaccine regime from May 1. It was a smokescreen with three-tier pricing and inadequate vaccines for states. We have also seen private players charging between Rs 1.000 and Rs 2,000 for a jab. We hope the centre will not deny the states their due now that it seemingly monopolised vaccine distribution. We hope good sense prevails,” Sen added.
Bengal has already spent Rs 150 crore on buying vaccines; 31.7 lakh people in the 18-44 age-group have been inoculated in the state.