TN opposes Centre’s move to export Covid vaccines

M Subramanian

Chennai: A day after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced that export of Covid vaccines would resume from next month, Tamilnadu Health Minister M Subramanian has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Health Ministry to defer their decision to export vaccines till all eligible people in the country are fully vaccinated.

The Centre should consider exports only after fully vaccinating all eligible people in the country, he told reporters, on the sidelines of a function here.

On behalf of Tamilnadu and its people, Subramanian requested the Prime Minister and the Union Health Minister to postpone their decision to export vaccines and take steps to vaccinate all eligible persons in the country.

Mandaviya announced that India would resume the export of vaccines under ‘Vaccine Maitri’ in order to fulfill the commitment towards COVAX in line with our motto ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

The surplus supply of vaccines would be used to fulfill India’s commitment towards the world for the collective fight against the virus, he said.

When asked about the Centre’s move to export vaccines, Subramanian, said the Union Health Ministry should consider exporting vaccines only after fully vaccinating all eligible individuals in the country.

Of India’s total population of nearly 139 crore, 70 per cent were aged above 18 years, which meant that about 97.30 crore people were eligible for vaccines. Considering that two doses should be administered, the country totally required 194.60 crore doses to fully vaccinate the eligible population, he said.

Citing the data from Union government, Subramanain said 80 crore people have so far received the vaccines. Of this, 61 crore have received the first dose…So, only one-third have received the first dose. The country requires nearly 115 crore more doses.

Pointing out that several countries were now taking steps to vaccinate people in the 12-18 age group, he said India was yet to plan vaccination of this age group.

‘At the national-level, 115 crore doses are required, and we need to ‘ expand vaccination for 12 to 18 years’. ‘In such a situation, how will it be appropriate to export vaccines?’ the Minister said.

To a question, the Minister said no vaccination camps were held in Tamilnadu on Monday and Tuesday due to scarcity of vaccines, while recalling the mega vaccination drive launched on 12 and 19 September that exceeded the target with the inoculation of 28.91 lakh doses and 16.43 lakh doses respectively.

 

NT Bureau