Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded universal pricing for Covid-19 vaccine across India

News Desk: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday questioned the Centre over its new vaccine policy and demanded universal pricing for Covid-19 vaccine across India.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed her anguish over the Center’s new vaccination policy. She termed the Center’s new vaccine policy “arbitrary and discriminatory” and said the policy further aggravate the misery of the common man who is already suffering from the pandemic.

“It is surprising that despite the harsh lessons of last year and the pain inflicted on our citizens, the Government continues to follow an arbitrary and discriminatory policy, which promises to exacerbate existing challenges,” she said in her two-page letter to PM Modi.

Sonia Gandhi further alleged that the new vaccine policy implies that the central government has abdicated its responsibility of providing free vaccine to all Indians between 18 and 45 years of age.

“The policy implies that the Government of India has abdicated its responsibility to provide free vaccination for citizens between the age group of 18 to 45 years. This is a complete abandonment of government’s responsibility towards our youth,” Sonia Gandhi said in her letter to PM Modi.


She also questioned the differential price mechanism for the Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. She has demanded that the Centre should ensure uniform pricing of the vaccine.

Sonia Gandhi said due to the Center’s flawed policy, the vaccine manufacturer — Serum Institute of India — has announced a differential pricing mechanism.

The Serum Institute has announced that the price of the vaccine will be Rs 150/- per dose for the central Government, Rs 400/- per dose for the state Government, and Rs 600/- per dose for private hospitals.

“This means that citizens will be compelled to pay these high rates to be vaccinated, this will also bleed the finances of the states,” Sonia Gandhi said.

Sonia Gandhi alleged that at the time of distress, the government is allowing brazen profiteering by the company.

Sonia Gandhi said the 50 per cent quota for vaccination available with the central Government must be allocated transparently and equitably, in line with the spirit of cooperative federalism.

Demanding a re-evaluation of the entire policy, Sonia Gandhi urged PM Modi to intervene immediately and reverse the ill-considered decision.

The Centre on Monday announced a liberalised vaccine policy, making all adults above 18 years of age eligible for getting vaccination from May 1.

The Serum Institute of India on Wednesday announced a price of Rs 400 per dose for its Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ for state governments and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.


Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a tweet on Thursday, “Every Indian needs free vaccine, regardless of age, caste, creed, location. GoI [government of India] must fix one price for Covid vaccine irrespective of who pays — the Centre or the states.”

She also targeted the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and said, “One nation, one party, one leader shouts BJP all the time but to save lives they can’t have one price for vaccine.”