Congress demands White Paper on Centre’s vaccination policy

The party says accelerated vaccination is the only way to prevent a third wave of coronavirus

The Congress on Thursday demanded a White Paper on the Centre’s vaccination policy and asserted that ‘accelerated vaccination’ was the only way to prevent a third wave of coronavirus in India.

Addressing an online press conference, former Union Minister Rajeev Shukla also cautioned the government about growing infection in rural areas, the lack of health infrastructure and the need for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work together with States to step up medical facilities and vaccinate more and more people in rural areas.

“We demand that the government issue a White Paper on its vaccination policy for all to know how many vaccines have been procured and are in the pipeline to vaccinate all Indians,” Mr. Shukla said.

“This is not the time to indulge in image-building. Forget about your image, save people’s lives instead. Set aside your image management and put together all your energies in helping people come out of COVID-19. Try and take everyone together,” he added.

According to experts, around 90 lakh people have to be vaccinated daily to break the chain of the virus, but the current vaccination rate is very slow. He also suggested that the government make the vaccine available in the open market for those who can afford to pay for it.

“If the virus chain does not break, then the third wave is imminent. I would urge the Central government and the Prime Minister to procure vaccines on a war footing and negotiate on behalf of the States,” the Congress leader said.

Mr. Shukla, who is is in-charge of the party’s Himachal Pradesh affairs, said COVID-19 was spreading in villages and growing infection in villages was a cause of worry as there were not adequate testing facilities, hospitals, doctors and medical infrastructure in rural areas.

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