After PM Modi announced the centralization of the vaccination drive, Chief Ministers and Health Ministers of numerous states came forward on Monday to hail the Centre's decision of once again centralizing the vaccination program. Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar. in a conversation with Republic Media Network, asserted that the decision is a 'historic one' and will 'help' the country in the fight against COVID-19.
Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb took to his official Twitter handle and affirmed that he 'hailed' the decision of the Central government and added that it will provide a 'significant boost' to the efforts of tackling the pandemic. Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan also took to the microblogging site and 'thanked' PM Modi. Next in line to talk about the decision was Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath. "It is the sensitive nature of PM Modi that has led to this decision, which has removed the need for the state governments to spend anything for the procurement of vaccines." Pointing out that the Central government is paying for the vaccines, he added," I express my gratitude towards the central government." Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also took to the microblogging site to thank the PM. He wrote, "It will be helpful in battling COVID-19."
Manahora Lal Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana, made use of the platform to point out how this decision would save the states from an additional burden. He wrote," Free vaccination to 18-year-olds will certainly go a long way in defeating a possible third wave."
Chief Minister of Odisha who was the frontrunner in demanding the centralization of the vaccination drive, wrote, "Every life is precious. No one is safe until everyone is vaccinated. As a nation, we stand united in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic," and went on to thank PM Modi. "Heartily welcome the decision of PM Modi," wrote Chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu.
In the address to the nation, PM Modi detailed the entire episode of the vaccination drive in India. Looking back to the period between January 16 and May 1, he asserted that during that time, the vaccination program was being monitored by the Central government, and the nation was moving on the path to get everybody vaccinated free of cost. He then went on to highlight that the states began demanding decentralization in the midst of it all, and said, "Many questions- like why is there an age group? Why is the Central government deciding the age group? began to be raised." He went on, "There were even questions like, "Why are the old citizens getting vaccinated first?"
Keeping in view the demands and questions, the Central government, as per PM Modi, decided to bring about a change in the vaccination arrangement. He said, "We thought that if states are making such demands, let us give a part of the job to them, and from May 1, 25 percent of the job was given to them." He, highlighting that they all tried in their own way to perform the 25 percent job, said, " In the course, they got to know what are the problems, and how much is the availability of vaccines in the world."
Having said that, he highlighted that by the second week of May- when the COVID-19 cases were at an all-time high and there was a growing demand for vaccination, many state governments backtracked and started accepting that the previous arrangement was better. "With time, more states- even those who had been the first advocates of decentralization, joined these states and approached the Central government for rethinking on the entire issues.
In a key development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the nation on Monday announced the 100% Centralisation of the vaccination drive against the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be implemented within two weeks. Scrapping the decentralized policy rolled out on May 1, he added that the Centre will account for the procurement of 75% of COVID-19 vaccines from the manufacturers and subsequently provide these free to the States for inoculation. The remaining 25% would be available for private players, with a cap on the service charge.
Also, marking the importance of Yoga Day, PM Modi said that from June 21 onwards all persons above the age of 18 years will be provided with free COVID-19 vaccines across all districts in the country. The Prime Minister added that the existing policy allowing private hospitals to procure 25% of doses from vaccine makers directly will be continued. However, striking down the differential vaccine prices across private institutions, PM Modi announced that hospitals can only charge a maximum of Rs 150 of service charge per vaccine dose. Monitoring of price capping at private hospitals will be done by the states, he announced.