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Naveen Builds Consensus On Vax

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the Chief Ministers in the country to build a consensus over procurement of the COVID vaccines by the Centre for distribution among the states.

In the letter, Mr.Patnaik wrote that no state is safe unless all the states adopt vaccination as the topmost priority and execute it on war-footing.

“The only way to protect our people against future waves and provide them with a hope of survival is vaccination,” Patnaik wrote in the letter that he shared on Twitter, tagging all the Chief Ministers.

“But this cannot be a battle among the states to compete against each other to procure vaccines,” CM said.

Mr.Patnaik noted that after the Centre announced phase 3 of the vaccine policy, allowing vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 and opened procurement for the states and private sector, the demand increased.

“Many states have floated global tenders for vaccine procurement. However, it is quite clear that the global vaccine manufacturers are looking forward to the Union Government for the clearances and assurances,” CM added.

“They are unwilling to get into supply contracts with the State government. While the domestic vaccine manufacturers are having supply constraints and are not able to commit required supplies,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr.Patnaik said that under these circumstances, the best option available is for the Centre to centrally procure vaccines and distribute them among the state so that the people are vaccinated at the earliest.

“At the same time, the execution of the vaccination programme has to be decentralised and States allowed the flexibility to determine their own mechanism to ensure universal vaccination,” CM added.

For example, many hilly areas cannot access the internet and therefore online registration has to be flexible, he said.

Mr.Patnaik said that he has already raised the matter with the Centre and also spoken to a few chief ministers.

“However, I would respectfully suggest that all the State Governments should come to a consensus on this issue for early resolution of this problem. We should act fast before any third wave comes and creates further havoc,” he said.

Maintaining that the COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge that the country is facing since the Independence struggle, Mr.Patnaik urged the Chief Ministers to come together in the spirit of cooperative federalism, setting aside the political differences.