Buy unused COVID-19 vaccine from other countries: KTR to Centre

Hyderabad: State IT minister KT Rama Rao (KTR) on Friday appealed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government to procure vaccines “from anywhere”. Emphasising that vaccines are “the only way out”, he asked the centre to procure the vaccines from countries which are sitting on huge stockpiles of unused COVID-19 vaccines.

“I have spoken with different companies, and my information suggests that four countries including the US, Norway, Denmark and Canada are sitting on an unused stockpile of nearly 50 crore COVID-19 vaccines, that are manufactured by AstraZeneca. What is stopping the Centre from opening communication with these countries and procuring vaccines for Indians?” KTR asked.

The state IT minister made the statement while inaugurating 150 new beds at the state-run Telangana Instiute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), which were donated by HYSEA. KTR, during his address, also said that that universal vaccination for everybody is the only solution to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. “The Centre must also rollout measures to procure COVID-19 vaccines and establish a distribution line for states,” he added

KTR also said that Telangana is the only state which conducted a fever survey. “There will be a third wave also, hence vaccination is important. We have called for a global tender, and were told that they (vaccine manufacturers) they are talking to the Centre. We need universal vaccination. The union government should speak to everyone,” the minister added.

During the media interaction, he however refused to take questions on former cabinet member and TRS leader Eatala Rajender who resigned as MLA and hurled a slew of allegations against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). KTR also appealed to the Centre to have a uniform pricing and distribution policy.

“The Centre must accept that their primary responsibility is to procure vaccines from other countries and then distribute it. States can then can administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the public free of cost,” he opined. KTR also took a shot at the union government, stating that it “bungled in procurement and administration” of the vaccines.

“At a time when the country needed COVID-19 vaccines, the central government exported it. Without assurance of enough stock, they chose to open up vaccination for people aged between 18 to 44 years, which has further complicated the process,” KTR added. .