Naveen appeals to all CMs to come to a consensus on covid issue, suggests central procurement of vaccines

Bhuabaneswar, Jun 2 (FN Representative) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today requested all Chief Ministers to come to a consensus and suggested the covid vaccines be centrally procured and distributed among the states for vaccination of the people at the earliest. Describing the covid pandemic as the greatest challenge the nation facing after independence, Mr Patnaik appealed to the Chief Ministers to set aside the difference, political or otherwise and come together in the true spirit of cooperative federalism for saving people’s lives and hard-earned livelihood.

In a letter to all Chief Ministers, Mr Patnaik said ‘’ the execution programme of the vaccination has to be decentralised and the states should be allowed the flexibility to determine their own mechanism to universal vaccination. Mr Patnaik said he had spoken to some Chief Ministers and they shared the view. ‘’We have to act fast before the third wave comes and create havoc’’, he said. In his letter the Chief Minister said over the last one year, the Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected countries across the world. Most countries have witnessed multiple waves of infection. India is no exception and “we have so far seen two waves of the virus infection”. He said especially, after the second wave, people are very scared about future waves and variants. Every citizen in India has been affected by this pandemic in one way or the other.

“It could be losing a loved one or losing a job or loss in business or just mental trauma because of the present situation. None have been spared by this pandemic. Mr Patnaik said the only way to protect our people against future waves and provide them with a hope of survival is vaccination. Countries that have focused on vaccination programs have seen a remarkable improvement in their Covid situation, he said, adding “ We have to provide this healing touch to our people”. The Chief Minister further said “No State is safe unless all the states adopt vaccination as the topmost priority and execute it on war-footing. But this cannot be a battle among the states to compete against each other to procure vaccines. He said after the Union Government announced Phase 3 of the vaccine policy and allowed for above 18 years and opened procurement to State governments and the private sector, there has been a great demand for vaccination from the citizens.

Many states have floated global tenders for vaccine procurement. However, it is quite clear that the global vaccine manufacturers are looking forward to the Union Government for the clearances and assurances. They are unwilling to get into supply contracts with the State governments. While the domestic vaccine manufacturers are having supply constraints and are not able to commit required supplies. Under the above circumstances, Mr Patnaik said the best option available is for the Government of India to centrally procure the vaccines and distribute them among the States so that our citizens are vaccinated at the earliest. At the same time, the execution of the vaccination program has to be decentralised and states allowed the flexibility to determine their own mechanisms to ensure universal vaccination. Mr Patnaik said, “Perhaps after the independence struggle, this is the greatest challenge we have faced together as a nation”. “I am sure that we will set aside whatever differences we have either political or otherwise and come together in the true spirit of Cooperative Federalism for saving precious lives and hard-earned livelihoods. “I look forward to a productive way forward to pull our country out of this unprecedented crisis and we as a team owe it to our citizens,” Mr Patnaik said in his letter to the Chief Ministers of the country.