New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday slammed the centre over “shortage of vaccines” and said its directive to states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers abroad was a “cynical move”.
His attack on the government came after 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.
A senior Punjab official said on Sunday that US-based COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Moderna has refused to send vaccines directly to the state government 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 said.
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.
Is there any surprise that Pfizer and Moderna have refused to deal with states (Punjab, Delhi) and will deal only with the central government?
The central government’s direction to the states to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers abroad was a cynical move.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 24, 2021
“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, he 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.
Another senior Congress leader and former Union minister, Jairam Ramesh, also slammed the Centre over its vaccine policy.
“India was late to place orders because of overconfidence and hubris! The PM and his drumbeaters were busy tom-tomming their Vaccine Maitri initiative, which has flopped,” he alleged.
“The modified vaccine policy from May 1st is a massive cover-up to hide their bungling,” Mr Ramesh tweeted.