Monday, June 21, 2021

‘Centre can do away with Covid-19 vaccine monopoly’: Kejriwal writes to PM Modi

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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow other companies the right to manufacture the two Covid-19 vaccines administered in the country – Covishield and Covaxin.

In his letter, Kejriwal said that the current supply of vaccine doses is not sustainable to meet the whole country’s demand, which will in turn be an arsenal in India’s fight against the deadly virus.

Kejriwal, in his letter wrote, the Indian government can do away with vaccine production monopoly using the patent law. “This way we will be able to provide a safety net to the whole country before the third wave of Covid-19 and save lives of people.”

“The second wave of Covid is very fatal and the disease has reached the villages with many lives lost… There is need to vaccinate all the citizens as soon as possible… Presently only two companies are manufacturing vaccines in India. Providing vaccine to the whole country through two companies only is not possible. It requires ramping up vaccine manufacturing at war footing,” said Kejriwal in a letter to Modi, a copy of which HT has seen.

Also read: Maharashtra, UP, Delhi among 18 states where daily Covid-19 cases falling: Govt

It further said, “I request you to grant permission for mass production of the vaccines. Every company in the country that has capacity of safe production should manufacture the vaccine.”

Earlier in the day, the CM asked the Central government to share the vaccine formulas and allow more companies to scale up production.

“Only two companies are producing vaccines so far. They produce only 6-7 crore vaccines a month. This way, it will take over two years to vaccinate everyone. Many waves would have come by then. Important to increase vaccine production on war footing and frame national plan to vaccinate all,” Kejriwal said at a press conference.

“The Centre has the power to make the vaccine formula public and distribute to those who are interested in making it. During the crisis in PPE kits last year, we allowed many companies to make the kits. Likewise, we should do the same in terms of vaccine manufacturing,” he said further.

Kejriwal’s request comes on the day Delhi recorded 12,481 fresh cases of Covid-19, the second day in a row that the number stayed under 13,000 without significant reduction in testing, officials said.

Also read: Delhi’s Covid positivity rate declining, but we can’t be at ease: Satyendar Jain

The national capital also saw 347 fatalities in the last 24 hours due to the deadly viral contagion, taking the cumulative death toll past 20,000, the health bulletin said. A total of 20,010 people have died since the onset of the pandemic, according to officials.

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