HYDERABAD: The age-group-wise approach to Covid19 vaccination implemented by the central government was a strategic error, and so were the Centre’s vaccine procurement and distribution policies, state minister K.T. Rama Rao has said.
Answering a spate of questions related to Covid-19 vaccination on Twitter, Rama Rao said instead of following the age-category-wise vaccination, the Telangana state government has begun vaccinating high exposure — high risk occupational categories irrespective of their age in both urban and rural areas.
He said it was the Central government’s inability in procuring Covid-19 vaccine doses that placed India in its current predicament as the demand far outstripped the supply. Asked when everyone in Telangana state will get vaccinated, he said: “The problem is vaccine supply versus demand gap. We have the ability to vaccinate more than 10 lakh people a day but the constraints on vaccine supplies are hampering its brisk progress.”
Criticising the Central government, Rama Rao said, “Counting up all vaccine deals per capita, Canada has procured nearly nine doses per person. While all of this was happening, the Union Govt was pushing ‘Vaccine Maitri’ and promoting vaccine exports from India.”
He also said that “while all other countries were placing orders for vaccines back in the first half of 2020, the Indian government woke up late. Our orders were placed in January 2021.”
Rama Rao repeated his request that the Centre procure the nearly 50 crore vaccine doses lying unused in the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway. The central government would do well to start a dialogue immediately, procure these and allot them to the states,” he said.
When a netizen asked, ‘Where is my vaccine?’, Rama Rao said: “Ask the Govt of India that bungled up & created this situation where states are pitted against one another & against the pvt sector. They didn’t place orders when they had to & even now don’t want to call for a single tender for the entire country.”
He added: “When the states reach out to vaccine manufacturers, they are clearly saying they would rather deal with one entity, the Govt of India, which unfortunately seems to have no urgency to go for a global procurement & supply to all Indian states.”...