A little over a month ago, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had announced free vaccines for all beneficiaries in the 18-45 age group. However, expressing concerns over rates and doing a Kejriwal-style U-turn, the Chief Minister has now written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide free vaccines to the state.
In April, Soren had announced that his government will vaccinate everyone in the 18+ age group free of cost.
झारखण्ड राज्य में 18 वर्ष से अधिक उम्र के राज्यवासियों को कोरोना वैक्सीन राज्य सरकार द्वारा निःशुल्क लगाया जायेगा।— Hemant Soren (@HemantSorenJMM) April 22, 2021
इस विकट संक्रमण में लोगों को मदद के लिए सरकार दिन-रात काम कर रही है। मुझे विश्वास है सभी के सहयोग से हम कोरोना को फिर मात देंगे।
कोरोना हारेगा, झारखण्ड जीतेगा।
The Delhi CM’s latest U-turn has been asking for the centraliziation of the vaccination program after advocating decentralization. Similarly, Soren cited the state’s incapability to procure vaccines owing to resource crunch after announcing free vaccines for everyone in the 18+ age group back in April. He said that the exorbitant pricing to vaccinate 1 crore 57 lakh beneficiaries in the age group of 18 to 44 years would lead to a burden of 1,100 crores on the state exchequer.
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren wrote to PM Modi requesting to provide free vaccine for beneficiaries of all age groups & give freedom to define priorities for vaccination coverage pic.twitter.com/nUz7bzHsm5— ANI (@ANI) June 1, 2021
Soren also complained about the shortage of vaccines and their procurement causing major blocks in the vaccination drive of the state. The state had ordered 25 lakh doses from both domestic manufacturers- the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech each, but the manufacturers are also overburdened, he said.
However, it is imperative to note that Jharkhand wasted 37.3% vaccines according to the data available with the union health ministry.
The letter also mentioned that the states including Jharkhand have always received vaccines free of cost from the Central government for all other programmes such as Pulse Polio and Routine Immunisation and the same should be applicable for Covid-19 vaccines as well.
Soren additionally urged to let states break away from the common framework of prioritizing beneficiaries and allow the state governments the freedom to define the priorities of the vaccination coverage.
So basically, Soren wants the Central government to supply all the vaccines but wants the power to decide who will receive it first for himself.
Coronavirus cases in the state
The state of Jharkhand reported 831 new coronavirus cases and 13 fatalities in the past 24 hours. While the recovery rate in the state improved and stood at 95.27 per cent, the mortality rate remained high at 1.47 per cent.
Additionally, the lockdown in the state has been extended till June 03 with several restrictions and suspension of intra and inter-city bus services.