Ramp up vaccine drive: Manmohan to PM Narendra Modi

Ramp up vaccine drive: Manmohan to PM Narendra Modi

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. File photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 18

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote his suggestions on Covid management to PM Narendra Modi, seeking flexibility for states to define frontline staff who could be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years.

In a two-page letter to PM Modi, Singh said, “The key to the fight against Covid-19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated.”

India has so far administered 12,25,02,790 vaccine doses, including 10.63 crore first doses (which is less than 10 per cent for a population of over 130 crore).

The former PM demanded that the government should publicise the vaccine dose orders placed with companies over the next six months. “If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply.”

He also asked for indications on how the expected supply would be distributed to states transparently and advised the Centre to retain 10 per cent doses for emergency needs and send the rest to states with clear signals of the likely availability so that the states could plan the rollout.

Urging flexibility for states to define frontline workers below 45 years who could be vaccinated, the former PM wrote, “States may want to designate schoolteachers, drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers, who have to attend courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years.”

He called for proactive support from the government to vaccine producers to expand manufacturing facilities. Citing Israel, which has invoked compulsory licensing to produce vaccines, he wrote: “It is time for India to do the same so that a number of companies are able to produce the vaccines under a licence.”

The former PM also advocated import clearance to foreign-made jabs approved by credible regulators (the Centre has already done this) without insisting on domestic bridging trials.

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