New Delhi: With the nation struggling to face the second Covid wave, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggesting five ways the government can defeat the pandemic and said the very first step before implementing them is to accept the country is facing an economic crisis.
The Congress veteran in his letter written amid surge in coronavirus cases emphasized that the expansion of Covid vaccination programme is a big part of pandemic management, adding there is a need to resist the temptation to look at absolute numbers vaccinated and instead focus on percentage of population vaccinated.
Below are the five suggestions put forth by Dr Singh:
Publicise Covid vaccine orders placed for next six months:
Dr Singh said "the government should publicise what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months".
"If we want to vaccinate a target number in this period, we should place enough orders in advance so that producers can adhere to an agreed schedule of supply," he added.
Indicate how this expected supply will be distributed across states:
The former prime minister said "the government should indicate how this expected supply will be distributed across states based on a transparent formula".
"The central government could retain 10 per cent for distribution based on emergency needs, but other than that, states should have a clear signal of likely availability so that they can plan their roll out," he added.
States should be given some flexibility to define categories:
Dr Singh further said "the states should be given some flexibility to define categories of frontline workers who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age".
“For example, states may want to designate school teachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend Courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45,” he added.
Support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities:
Pointing out that India has over the past few decades emerged as the largest vaccine producer in the world thanks to policies adopted by the government and robust intellectual property protection, Dr Singh said: "The capacity is largely in the private sector. At this moment of a public health emergency, the government must proactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities quickly by providing funds and other concessions."
"In addition, I believe this is the time to invoke the compulsory licensing provisions in the law, so that a number of companies are able to produce the vaccines under a licence. This, I recall, had happened earlier in the case of medicines to deal with the HIV/AIDS disease. As far as Covid-19 is concerned, I have read that Israel has already invoked the compulsory licensing provision and there is an overwhelming case for India to do so as well quickly," he added in his letter to Prime Minister Modi.
Any vaccine that has been cleared for use should be allowed to be imported:
Dr Singh suggested that any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as the European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials since domestic supplies are limited.
"We are facing an unprecedented emergency and, I understand, experts are of the view that this relaxation is justified in an emergency. The relaxation could be for a limited period during which the bridging trials could be completed in India. All consumers of such vaccines could be duly cautioned that these vaccines are being allowed for use based on the approval granted by the relevant authority abroad," he added.
The former prime minister's letter comes as the nation on Sunday registered highest surge in Covid-19 cases with 2,61,500 new cases. The number of total active cases in the country further swelled up to comprise nearly 12.18 percent of the total reported cases.
- Indian PM urges Hazare to end fast
- How Pakistan's unrest may impact ties with India
- Mass immigration to Britain has changed it beyond recognition and turned communities into ghettos, reveals damning report
- The Latest: Climate activists pack San Francisco streets
- The huge US oil stash hidden in underground caves
'Allow States To Define Frontline Workers': Manmohan Singh's 5 Suggestions To PM Modi For Tackling Covid Crisis have 765 words, post on news.abplive.com at April 18, 2021. This is cached page on Health Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.