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Chidambaram slams govt on delayed vax approval

Anti-BJP, anti-incumbency wind blowing in Goa: Chidambaram

Anti-BJP, anti-incumbency wind blowing in Goa: Chidambaram 

New Delhi Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday accused the central government of needlessly delaying approval to Coronavirus vaccines in the country for many months except in the case of Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V.

"Our suspicion that the government had not approved any vaccine other than Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V, has been proved correct," Chidambaram said. "Why did government go through the charade of negotiating quantities with Pfizer and Moderna without first giving Emergency Use Approval (EUA) to their vaccines?

"Why has it taken 8-9 months for the government to decide to give approval when the US and other countries had granted approval?

"Remember, Dr Manmohan Singh had made this specific suggestion in his letter which got a rude reply from the Union Health Minister!" he added. In mid-April, Singh's letter to the Centre suggested ramping up the vaccination drive as key to battling the pandemic, asking the government to "resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated, and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated".

The former Prime Minister had also added that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, adding that with the right policy design, "We can do much better and very quickly."

Experts from the National Institute of Malaria Research and the Indian Council of Medical Research, on Wednesday, slammed the government for poor planning of the home-grown vaccine production and deployment, as a result of which "India doesn't have enough vaccines to go around with", they said.

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