: Reflecting the State’s claim that certain anomalies in the Central government’s policy hampered it’s Covid vaccination drive, P. Subrahmanya Sastry, a Guntur-based pediatrician filed a PIL in the High Court appealing for a direction to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech to supply the vaccines directly without being hindered by the policy framework of Union of India. The petition is scheduled to come up for hearing by a vacation bench on May 14.
Dr. Sastry also prayed for a direction to the Centre to deregulate the supply of essential drugs like Remdesivir to enable the State to procure from the manufacturers, or instruct the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Department of Pharmaceuticals to allocate sufficient number of vials of Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, and to ensure the supply of 700 Metric Tons (MT) of oxygen per day keeping in view the anticipated increase in Covid infections.
In his PIL, Dr. Sastry said the quantity and date of supply of vaccines to the States is under the firm control of the Central government, as a result of which the States were unable to procure the vaccines from the manufacturers in spite of their financial preparedness and readiness in terms of transportation and storage.
The State’s vaccination drive in two categories (people older than 45, to which priority is given, and those aged between 18 and 45) cannot be completed if the Centre continued to call the shots in the allocation of vaccines, the petitioner observed.
Dr. Sastry further argued that the allotment of essential drugs to States is disproportionate to the respective caseloads. For example, Gujarat which has about 1,46,500 active cases of Covid last week got approximately 4.19 lakh Remdesivir injections compared to 2.35 lakh injections allotted to AP for nearly 1.87 lakh active cases. As far as oxygen availability is concerned, AP has a clear shortfall of 200 MT oxygen out of the total 428 MT allotted by the Centre.
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