Anurag Thakur Photograph:( AFP )
Thakur's remarks came in response to senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to use Rs 350,000 million allocated in the Union Budget to ensure free vaccine for all citizens instead of the current system of multiple pricing for various users
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Singh Thakur on Sunday said the government has provided 175.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses so far to states and union territories for inoculation of people of all age groups and 4.6 million doses will be supplied to them in the next three days.
Thakur's remarks came in response to senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to use Rs 350 billion allocated in the Union Budget to ensure free vaccine for all citizens instead of the current system of multiple pricing for various users.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India is supplying Covishield to the Centre for Rs 150 a dose while to states for Rs 300 a dose. Private Hospitals are getting it at double the state's price at Rs 600.
Whereas, Covaxin manufacturer Bharat Biotech has priced its vaccine at Rs 150 a dose for the Centre, Rs 600 a dose for state governments and Rs 1,200 a dose for private hospitals.
Both anti-COVID vaccines are administered in two doses.
Calling for free inoculation, leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Kharge in his letter said the Parliament had allocated Rs 350,000 million in the Union budget to ensure free vaccines for all.
He also urged the prime minister to immediately convene an all-party meeting to collectively forge a holistic blueprint to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dispelling claims of vaccine shortage in states, Thakur said 7.2 million doses are still available with states and union territories.
On further supply of vaccines, he said that "0.15 million doses of Sputnik V have already reached India and RDIF has also tied up with local Indian companies for bulk production."
In a series of tweets, the minister highlighted various measures taken by the government to increase supply of medicine and liquid medical oxygen, add more beds and distribute foreign aid to various states to fight the pandemic.
(With inputs from agencies)