Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday wrote a letter to all his fellow CMs seeking a consensus on the centralised procurement of Covid-19 vaccines by the Centre in view of the challenges faced by states.
In his letter, Mr Patnaik said no state is safe unless all the states adopt vaccination as a top priority and execute it on a war footing. “However, the states should not compete against each other to procure the vaccines. United efforts are required for vaccine procurement and states should have the flexibility to implement the vaccination drive based on the local circumstances,” Mr Patnaik wrote.
The CM has highlighted the fact that many states have floated global tenders for vaccine procurement but it was quite clear that global vaccine manufacturers are looking forward to the Centre for clearances as well as assurances. The manufacturers are unwilling to get into supply contracts with the state governments, he said.
“Under the circumstances, the best option available for the Government of India is to centrally procure vaccines and distribute the same among the states so that our citizens are vaccinated at the earliest,” he said.
The CM also stressed that execution of the vaccination programme has to be decentralised and states allowed the flexibility to determine their own mechanisms to ensure universal vaccination.
Citing an example, he said many hilly areas cannot access the Internet and therefore online registration has to be flexible. Besides, vulnerable tribes can be given priority for immunisation.
“I suggest that all state governments come to a consensus on the issue for early resolution of this problem, we should act fast before any third wave comes and creates further havoc,” he said.
The CM’s letter to his fellow CMs in other states marks a clear departure from his earlier stand on vaccine procurement. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 16, the CM asked the Centre to make Covid-19 vaccines available in the open market for citizens willing to buy them. This would help state governments streamline their focus on the vulnerable sections of society, he had then contended....