Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid the outcry over the Coronavirus infection in the country and suggested to speed up vaccination. Referring to the havoc playing by Corona, the former PM has suggested 5 remedies regarding the situation. It also states that immunization should also be given to those below 45 years of age.The former PM has said that vaccination is imperative to check the pandemic.
Manmohan Singh’s 5-points suggestion to PM Modi
- The government should inform people how many dose orders have been given to various vaccine producers and how many orders have been accepted to supply for the next 6 months. If we want to inoculate the targeted population during these 6 months, then we should order in advance so that the adequacy of vaccine remains in every situation.
- The government should tell how all the strategy will be executed and how the vaccine will be distributed in all the states. The central government can reserve 10 percent of the vaccine for an emergency to the states. Apart from this, states should have a green signal for procuring the vaccines.
- States should be given some autonomy in deciding the frontline workers so that they can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age. For example, states may want to declare bus-taxi drivers, teachers, municipal and panchayat staff and lawyers as front line workers. In such a situation, they can be vaccinated even if they are less than 45 years of age.
- India has emerged as the world’s largest vaccine producer over the last few decades. Especially the private sector has contributed a lot to this. The reason for this is the policies adopted by the government. In the event of this emergency, the government should provide facilities and concessions to vaccine manufacturers to spur production. The law should invoke Compulsory Licensing at this time so that companies can start production by obtaining licenses under it. This has been done earlier while fighting against diseases like AIDS. Regarding COVID, I have read that Israel has implemented the Compulsory License Provision. Given the growing Corona case in India, it should be implemented here as well.
- Since domestic supplies are limited, any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as the European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials. We are facing an unprecedented emergency and I understand, experts are of the view that this relaxation is justified in an emergency. The relaxation could be for a limited period during which the bridging trials could be completed in India. All consumers of such vaccines could be duly cautioned that these vaccines are being allowed for use based on the approval approved by the relevant authority abroad.
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