Minister KTR voices out Union Govt’s failure in vaccine administration and procurement during #AskKTR session
IT and Industries Minister KTR criticized the Union Government for its inefficiency in procuring the Covid vaccine doses for the citizens of the country.
During the #AskKTR session on Twitter, Minister KTR replied to queries related to vaccination drives, vaccine doses, and related topics. The one-and-a-half-hour-long session was trending at the number 2 position On Twitter India trends.
When asked about when the entire population of Telangana will get vaccinated, Minister KTR said, “The problem is vaccine supply versus demand gap. We have the ability to vaccinate more than 10 lakh people a day but unfortunately constraints on vaccine supplies are hampering brisk progress.”
KTR in his initial tweets explained why there is a demand-supply gap when India is the vaccines hub. He said, “While all other countries were placing orders for vaccines back in the first half of 2020, the Govt of India woke up late. Our orders were placed in Jan 2021.”
When a netizen asked Why Govt of India doesn't make a deal with the other countries to get excess doses (of AstraZeneca) and to replenish later, KTR said, “There are more than 50 Crore unused doses of AstraZeneca vaccine (called Covishield in India) in various countries; United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway. Govt of India needs to start a dialogue immediately & procure these asap & allot to states.
KTR also added, The US in May 2020 secured several million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine but didn’t use this much under this vaccination programme. Countries like Norway, Denmark & Canada had ordered significant quantities of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Criticizing the Government of India, Minister KTR said, “Counting up all vaccine deals per capita, Canada has procured nearly nine doses per person. While all of this was happening, the Govt of India was pushing Vaccine Maitri & promoting vaccine exports from India.”
Responding to questions on Central Government funds allocation for vaccination, KTR said, “The Govt of India had announced that they have allocated ₹35,000 Cr in the Union Budget for vaccination. Assuming we cover 100% population, we need 272 Cr doses at Rs. 150 Rupees per dose. Don’t know where that allocation has gone now.”
In a response to a question related to private hospitals charging high prices for vaccine doses, KTR said, “Different prices per different entities have been permitted by Govt of India. For Centre ₹150 & they take 85% of all vaccine produced. In the remaining 15% states & pvt hospitals have to compete. For states, Covishield is priced at ₹300 & Covaxin at ₹400.”
Talking about the age restrictions on vaccination, Minister KTR said, “This age category vaccination is in fact strategically misplaced in my opinion. Telangana Govt has taken a novel approach to vaccinate High exposure - high risk occupational categories irrespective of age & we are covering both urban & rural areas.”
“The total current production capabilities of Bharat biotech & Serum Institute as of May 2020 is at approximately 10 Cr doses per month. Now I request you to do the math as to how this would cover the huge percentage of 18-45 age group which is nearly 80 Cr @ 2 doses each,” said KTR, replying to a question on why the centre asked citizens aged between 18-45 get vaccinated in private or State centres.
When a netizen asked, ‘Where is my vaccine?’, Minister KTR said, “Ask the Govt of India that bungled up & created this situation where states are pitted against one another & against the pvt sector. They didn’t place orders when they had to & even now don’t want to call for a single tender for the entire country.”
“When the states reach out to vaccine manufacturers, they are clearly saying they would rather deal with one entity; Govt of India, who unfortunately seems to have no urgency to go for a global procurement & supply to all Indian states,” the Minister added.
In one of his tweets, KTR also said that the State Government has given a second dose of vaccination to 13.5 lakh people in Telangana.
When asked why the second dose of Covishield vaccination stopped in Government hospitals in Telangana, KTR said, “As you are aware, the gap between first and second dose for Covishield has been increased by Union Govt. Those who are eligible are being administered.”
When asked why the Telangana-based pharma companies are not being incentivized to produce doses and take orders from the State, KTR said, “Unfortunately all their production is being closely monitored by Govt of India who is taking 85% production. In the remaining 15% we have to compete with other states & hospitals who buy at three times the rate. Guess who they would prefer selling to?”
When asked if Telangana Government is opening tenders for the import of surplus vaccines from other countries, KTR said, “Unfortunately, vaccine manufacturers are preferring to deal with one entity as opposed to multiple I.e., Govt of India.”
Throughout the session, Minister KTR responded to the questions in a very detailed manner. Despite a few leaders calling him names and using disrespectful words, KTR remained calm and stated that it's not in his culture to call names and insult people.