COVID vaccine policy: Modi govt is callous and cruel, says P Chidambaram

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday slammed the Narendra Modi government over “shortage of vaccines” and said its directive to states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers abroad was a “cynical move”.

His statement comes at a time Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said US pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have declined to sell coronavirus vaccines to the city government as they want to directly deal with the centre.

Moderna has refused to send vaccines directly to the Punjab government also stating that it only deals with the centre.

“Is there any surprise that Pfizer and Moderna have refused to deal with states (Punjab, Delhi) and will deal only with the central government?” P Chidambaram asked.

The central government’s direction to states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers abroad was a “cynical move”, the former Union minister said.

“If Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not yet been ‘approved for use” by the central government, how will they deal with or sell to the states?” he asked.

“Government has rebuffed our advice as well as the suggestion of the courts, that procurement of vaccines must be centralised,” P Chidambaram said.

The Modi government is callous and cruel, former home minister alleged.

“Meanwhile, the shortage of vaccines will continue and the people will suffer and thousands will die. What a tragedy!” P Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.