As the Centre made an announcement of launching the Coronavirus vaccination drive on January 16, the BSP has demanded on Sunday that the vaccines be administered to the poor free of cost and they should be the first to get vaccinated.
BSP national spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria said that party supremo Mayawati had demanded that the poor people should also be a part of the priority group to get the vaccine in the first phase and for free.
"People were troubled for a whole year because of the COVID-19 crisis, and many people lost their lives. Our party supremo Mayawati Ji has demanded that poor people, who are resourceless, be given the vaccine in the first phase free of cost. It should be given so that people can go on with their lives independently," Bhadoria said while speaking with ANI.
After two successful nationwide 'dry runs', the Centre on Sunday made the announcement of launching the mega vaccination drive across the country on 16 January. The decision came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level review meeting with Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Health Secretary, and other senior officials to review the status of COVID-19 in the country along with the preparedness of the State/UTs for COVID vaccination. PM Modi is said to interact with chief ministers of various states regarding the vaccination drive across the country.
The Centre has stated that priority will be given to nearly 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers in the vaccination drive, who would be inoculated first before the vaccine is made available to the general public. Thereafter citizens above 50 years and those under 50 years with comorbidities will be inoculated, followed by the general public.
Soon after the DCGI granted approval to two vaccines Covaxin and Covishield, politics over the vaccines began as Congress and Samajwadi Party raised suspicion over the safety of the vaccine. While Samajwadi Party Chief and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav called it a BJP vaccine and refused to get himself inoculated, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor also raised apprehension on the safety of the vaccine. Moreover, Chhattisgarh Health Minister also raised apprehensions on Sunday and stated that Covaxin shouldn't be allowed in the state.
Responding to the harsh reactions, Bharat Biotech CMD Dr Krishna Ella gave assurance about the safety of COVAXIN. In a virtual address, Ella explained in detail the process of the clinical trials and the data available in the public domain regarding COVAXIN. Comparing COVAXIN's publications to the other vaccines developed by Moderna, Pfizer, and other vaccine developers, Dr Ella said that Covaxin was not inferior in any manner.
Moreover, Ecuador Ambassador to India Hector Cueva Jacome participated in the trials of Covaxin on Friday, while stating that he consulted researchers and experts from the US and Ecuador before taking the first shot of the vaccine. The researchers said Covaxin is a safe and convenient vaccine, Jacome added.
(with inputs from ANI)