Priyanka Gandhi questions centre on India’s COVID-19 vaccine shortage

New Delhi: Why is India, one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world, facing a scarcity today?, asked Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday, hitting out at the Centre for its management of the COVID-19 vaccination process.

In a video captioned ‘The Government of India owes the people of India answers,’ she asked why the government had placed its first vaccine order only in January this year.

“Why is India, one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the world facing a scarcity today? Why was the first order or vaccines by the government of India placed in January 2021 when other countries began placing their orders in the summer of 2020?”

She further asked, “Why did our government export six crore vaccines between January and March 2021 while vaccinating only 3.5 crore Indians during the same period of time. The government of India owes the people of India answers. We have to ask them questions and they have to answer us.”
The Congress leader had criticised the Centre earlier as well for the country’s dearth of COVID-19 vaccines.

Earlier in April, she had tweeted, “Shocking that while COVID ravages India, from being a vaccine exporter, it has been compelled to become a vaccine importer undoing 70 years of govt effort. @narendramodi: the pilot who had his photo plastered on boarding passes only to press the eject button during an emergency.”

India has so far administered 20,26,95,874 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Union Health Ministry informed.

Vaccination centres across the countries have been forced to shut down over the last few days due to a country-wide shortage. Several states, including Punjab, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Karnataka, among others, have floated global tenders for COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine manufacturer Moderna has allegedly refused to send vaccines directly to the Punjab government, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh informed last week. Delhi too has received the same response from Pfizer and Moderna.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal informed on Wednesday that Sputnik V makers have agreed to supply vaccines in Delhi.

Chief Ministers of several states have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to float tenders at the Central level.