'Dear PM, How Can The Same Vaccine Have 3 Different Prices?'
Congress President Sonia Gandhi letter to PM
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to convey the deep concern and sense of anguish that the new Covid-19 vaccination policy has caused amongst the people.
It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the Government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges.
The policy implies that the Government of India has abdicated its responsibility to provide free vaccination for citizens between the age group of 18 to 45 years. This is complete abandonment of the Government's responsibility towards our youth.
As a consequence of this policy, the vaccine manufacturer, i.e., the Serum Institute of India announced a differential pricing mechanism today, viz., Rs. 150/- per dose for the Central Government, Rs. 400/- per dose for State Government and Rs. 600/- per dose 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.
This begs the question, how can the same vaccine manufactured by the same company have three different prices? There is no rationale or justification that allows for such arbitrary distinction.
Furthermore, in these unprecedented times, how can the Government of India permit such brazen profiteering from people's misery? 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. Even with regards to the fifty percent quota for vaccination available with the Central Government, the allocation must be transparent and equitable, in line with the spirit of cooperative federalism.
The Indian National Congress has already demanded a re-evaluation of this policy. Surely, any reasonable person will agree on the benefit of a uniform price for vaccination.
I would urge you to intervene immediately and reverse this ill considered decision. The nation's goal must be to ensure that everyone over 18 years is given the vaccine, regardless of their economic circumstances.