THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Centre’s new Covid vaccine policy will push state governments to huge financial liabilities, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference here, he said that under the new policy, the makers of the Covid vaccine will donate 50% of their production to the central government and the remaining 50% to state governments and open markets.
Pinarayi said Kerala has already announced that it will make the vaccine available to its public for free and the state cannot go back on its word.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has already announced that its Covid Covishield vaccine will be sold to state governments at Rs 400 per injection and Rs 600 to private hospitals. This will create a huge financial liability for state governments that have already faced an acute financial crisis due to the
pandemic in progress. So instead of pushing state governments to new financial responsibilities, the Center should provide free vaccine to states that deserve it, he said.
Kerala has already announced that it will make the vaccine available to its people free of charge and the state cannot go back on its word. The state requires 2.5 lakh of vaccine per day to vaccinate 1.13 crore of people over 45 by May 20, the CM said.
Due to the vaccine shortage, the state was unable to maintain its daily target and now the state needs 3.7 lakh of vaccine per day to meet the May 20 target, he said. he adds. Despite the search for vaccine doses of 50 lakh, Kerala received only 5.5 lakh doses. When the whole country is battling a pandemic, it is the
the constitutional responsibility of the Center to protect the health of the population by providing free vital drugs, he recalled.
Meanwhile, the state government announced a series of restrictions to control the spread of Covid cases. The state has also decided to convene a meeting of private hospitals to integrate them into the Covid control system. In addition, a meeting of political parties will be convened shortly on the measures to be taken before the counting of the votes and the day of the counting, indicated the CM.
READ ALSO | Revised COVID-19 guidelines in Kerala, 14-day quarantine mandatory for high-risk contacts
Restrictions related to Covid
All government offices (except those dealing with emergency and essential services) will allow up to 50% of staff on a rotational basis to work from home. Such government office personnel without an electronic office installation will be deployed in Covid service in accordance with the service list prepared by district collectors.
- All offices / organizations / institutions / private companies should operate with minimum force as far as possible on the basis of working from home.
- All educational institutions including music / art schools, coaching institutions are welcome to deliver courses only in online mode.
- All summer vacation camps will be closed. Hostels are allowed to operate strictly by adhering to Covid protocols
- Only essential services and emergency activities will be authorized on Saturday and Sunday.
- Saturday will be a public holiday for all government offices, banks, public sector companies and cooperative institutions
- The upper secondary exam scheduled for Saturday will proceed as scheduled.
- No restrictions will be binding on any member of staff delegated to the Covid election, examination or duty
- Restaurant take-out operating schedule may be extended by district disaster management authorities to facilitate breaking the fast during Ramzan
- Covid protocols must be strictly followed in all public places such as beaches, parks, train stations, bus stations, airports, markets, etc.