Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik says, Procuring vaccines can’t be a battle among the states

Naveen Patnaik suggested that the states work together to develop a consensus on the issue in the “true spirit of cooperative federalism.”

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday that centrally procuring vaccines and decentralizing the vaccination program is the best approach to “defend our people from future waves” of COVID-19.

In a communication to his counterparts across the country, Naveen Patnaik described the continuing pandemic as arguably the biggest challenge the country has faced since the struggle for independence.

“Wrote to all CMs for a consensus on centralised procurement of vaccines by GOI in view of the challenges faced by states. Spoke to some CMs who shared my views. No State is safe unless all States adopt vaccination as a top priority & execute it on war-footing,” he tweeted.

To safeguard lives and livelihoods, he suggested that the states work together to develop a consensus on the issue in the “true spirit of cooperative federalism.”

Naveen Patnaik, while referring to the latest phase of the Centre’s vaccination policy, wrote in his letter, “No state is safe unless all the states adopt vaccination as the top most priority and execute it on war-footing. But this cannot be a battle among the states to compete against each other to procure vaccines.”

This current phase of the vaccination campaign permits all adults over the age of 18 to get vaccinated, as well as states and private institutions to get doses. Since then, several countries have issued worldwide bids for supply aimed at people aged 18 to 45.

The Odisha CM said, “However, it is quite clear that the global vaccine manufacturers are looking forward to the Union Government for the clearances and assurances. They are unwilling to get into supply contracts with the state governments. While the domestic vaccine manufacturers are having supply constraints and are not able to commit required supplies.”

He added that under the circumstances, the best option available is for the Government of India to centrally procure the vaccines and distribute them among the States. “At the same time, the execution of the vaccination program has to be decentralized, and states allowed the flexibility to determine their own mechanisms.”

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