During pandemic, entire globe a unit: Centre justifies vaccine exports
Facing backlash over the export of indigenously-produced vaccines during the second COVID-19 wave, the Centre has said that the "entire globe is a unit" during a pandemic, in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court. The government said it envisaged vaccine export as part of a "global action to vaccination." Between January and March, India exported over 6.6 crore vaccine doses to 93 countries.
India not immune until world contains pandemic: Centre
The Centre's affidavit—filed on March 11—said it was not possible to take a country or state-specific approach. The Centre said that it was necessary to protect the high-risk population in other countries to "break the chain of transmission" and "minimize chances of import of COVID-19 cases to India." "India is not immune... till the world at large has contained the disease," it argued.
Attempt to avoid imbalance between vaccines' production and 'available' infrastructure
The government highlighted that the export of COVID-19 vaccines was "limited" and done giving "highest priority to domestic needs," The Hindu reported. The Centre said the export and staggered immunization were undertaken to avoid disproportion between the production of vaccines and the country's "available" health infrastructure and manpower. Simultaneous vaccination without priority classification would have led to "commotion", the Centre told the apex court.
West Bengal government had argued against vaccine export
An affidavit by the West Bengal government in the top court, however, disagreed. "The immediate singular objective of the Government of India ought to be to take drastic steps to achieve universal coverage at the earliest," it had submitted on April 29. It said that even "a single person deprived of vaccination would be to the collective detriment of a large section of society."
India had suspended exports of COVID-19 vaccines in March
Facing an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases, India suspended the exports of its indigenously manufactured COVID-19 vaccines in late March. 18,22,20,164 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered domestically as of Sunday morning, according to the Health Ministry. Only about 3% of India's population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far. The vaccine export has also drawn criticism in light of the recent domestic shortage.
Delhi Police arrested people over posters critical of PM Modi
The Delhi Police on Friday arrested 15 people and registered 17 First Information Reports (FIRs) over posters criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The posters read, "Modiji humare bachon ki vaccine videsh kyu bhej diya?," which translates to, "PM Modi, why did you send vaccines meant for our children to foreign countries?" Around 860 posters and 20 banners were reportedly recovered.
Senior Congress leaders extend support to arrested accused
Senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and P Chidambaram on Sunday slammed the Centre over the arrests of people who had allegedly put up posters criticizing the government's handling of the COVID-19 crisis. "Arrest me too," Rahul Gandhi tweeted, sharing the aforementioned poster. "There is freedom of speech. Except, when you ask a question of the Honourable Prime Minister," Chidambaram tweeted.
CPI (M) accuses Modi-led government of misplaced priorities
Busy with Election Rallies building the Central Vista, Modi Govt didnt have time to plan for Vaccines, but has time to arrest the poor asking— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) May 16, 2021
“Modi ji hamare bachon ki vaccine videsh kyon bhej diya (Why did you send our children’s vaccines abroad?)”https://t.co/XHPiydogtF