Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi on Tuesday went back on his promise of making Chinese coronavirus vaccines free in his state. He appealed to the central government to instead foot the bill and make vaccines for those eligible from May 1 2021 free in his state. It is imperative to note that health is state subject and respective state governments are responsible for implementing policies framed by Centre.
Maximum vaccination is required to crush 2nd wave of #COVID19. Requested @PMOIndia to reconsider new policy on vaccine distribution so that availability is assured & no additional financial burden is incurred, enabling States to perform constitutional obligation in health sector. pic.twitter.com/sEE6dpGzpE— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) April 20, 2021
Vijayan took to Twitter to appeal to Centre to reconsider the vaccine distribution policy. The Centre on Monday announced a slew of changes in the vaccination policies and made provisions for states to purchase the vaccines directly from manufacturers. The Union Govt allowed vaccine manufacturers to sell 50% of their output in open market to states and other private players.
The Centre reiterated that frontline workers and those above age of 45 will be eligible to get the vaccines for free from Centre. The Centre announced that it will allocate vaccines to states from its funds depending on severity of infection and efficiency of state governments in terms of wastage of doses.
Vijayan had in December 2020 announced that vaccines will be free for all in his state.
Soon after, the state had its assembly elections. The voting for the same is over and results will be announced on 2nd May 2020
Kerala has allocated Rs 20,000 crore budget for COVID
This development comes despite having allocated Rs 20,000 crore budget to fight the pandemic a year ago.
In March 2020, Kerala had allocated Rs 20,000 funds to fight the Chinese virus pandemic.
Kerala is currently second worst affected state after Maharashtra in terms of total coronavirus cases. The state has registered over 12.72 lakh cases of which over 1.18 lakh cases are currently active. Almost 5,000 people in Kerala have lost their lives to the virus.