The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

A Universal Mass Vaccination Programme

Essential to Meet This Grave Health Emergency

The new vaccine policy announced yesterday, is once again an effort by the central government to absolve itself from the colossal health crisis that they have created. There is an effort to shift the entire responsibility on to the state governments. 

This policy is essentially an effort to liberalise vaccine sales and deregulate prices, without augmenting supply. The centre has failed for a year to do anything to ramp up adequate and needed vaccine supplies. This is a recipe for exclusion of crores of people who will find it unaffordable to procure the life-saving vaccine. 

Further, vaccines were so far free of cost to the states. Now, states have to ‘procure’ them from the ‘open market’ without any price regulation. The vaccine providers according to this latest policy, will declare their ‘self-set vaccine price’. This again, is bound to exclude an overwhelming majority of our people. 

The state governments should be funded for the vaccines from the central exchequer. 

Further, this policy is bound to breed large-scale black marketeering and hoarding.

A mass vaccination programme has to be free and universal. This has been independent India’s heritage and practice.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns this discriminatory, anti-equity and haphazard policy making of the centre aimed at absolving itself from all responsibility. This is not going to mitigate the pandemic or resolve the huge public health emergency that our people face. On the contrary, such a discriminatory policy will only make India more vulnerable to the pandemic surge. 

Only a mass universal vaccination programme can meet the needs of this emergency.