Kerala Assembly condemns Centre's vaccine policy, passes resolution for free universal vaccination

The Kerala Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to provide free universal vaccination. The resolution also wanted the Centre to float global tenders to procure vaccines for the entire country rather than asking states to purchase separately.

This is the first such unanimous resolution passed by a State Assembly in the country.

"In earlier times, free vaccines to combat dangerous infectious diseases was adopted as a national policy, " the resolution, as read out by health minister Veena George, said. "However, the Centre is taking steps that are contrary to our usual practice. Instead of providing free vaccines, the Centre is now asking states to procure vaccines from the market. This is highly condemnable, " the resolution said.

The resolution said that vaccine companies were trying to exploit the low availability of and high demand for vaccines. "In this context, vaccine production should begin in pharmaceutical companies in the public sector by invoking the compulsory licensing provision, " the resolution said.

It said the Centre should not consider the expenditure on vaccines as waste. "This will help life to get back to normal and commerce, industrial and services sectors will also get back on their feet. Such a possibility should not be lost sight of, " the resolution said.

The resolution also emphasised that vaccination was the most effective way to achieve herd immunity. "If vaccines are to be administered to all, the Centre should make it available for free, " the resolution said.

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